Death Valley 2011

Moab, October 2011

Earlier this year, the Northern California Land Rover Club was planning a trip to Baja Mexico. I requested vacation and was very excited about heading south of the border. Unfortunately, violence and safety concerns cancelled the trip, so a change of plans were in order. Rob Gardner-Black and Michael Beaver, the unoffical Elk Grove chapter of the NCLR, were still up for a trip. We contemplated a few ideas including Mojave Road, Oregon and decided on Canyonlands/Moab. I fell in love with the four corners area a few years ago on an incredible kayak trip down the Green River. I went back for a few days with family and we did one day on the White Rim trail which can be seen in the Road Trip 2009 page. We researched many maps and read trip reports on ExPo and came up with a plan. Beaver did most of the leg work on planning the trip as I was studying for a test and Rob was busy finishing up Beaver's front bumper. So, at 5am on Sunday, October 23rd, we left Elk Grove and headed to Moab with three trucks, Ella, myself, Rob, his wife Tracy and Beaver. Our first day was ambitious, but we made the 850 mile trip and rolled into Moab about 10pm. Ella was a trooper as she had to stay in her carseat the whole trip. We took highway 50 which was more scenic and less miles and made many stops along the way to break-up the monotony of the trip. Frequent HAM radio conversations definitely help keep you focused when driving such long distances. The highlight, or actually low-point, of the trip was our dinner at Mom's Cafe somewhere in Utah. We decided to try some local fare with Rob and Beaver being quite daring ordering the 'fish-n-chips'. They were horrific! I don't think there was anything remotely close to fish in the meal. After 12 hours of driving, it was such a let down. We finally made it to Moab, tired and unsatisfied... The first night, we stayed at the Red Stone Inn in Moab, a quaint motel for a reasonable price. We crashed hard that night after a nice warm shower. The next morning, we grabbed a bite to eat at the Moab Diner (good breakfast) and kept heading south to Monticello. We grabbed some firewood, gassed up and asked a Fish and Game warden directions to the trail. We finally hit the dirt and started our trek! Moab at the end of October starts to get pretty chilly. As we wound our way up the mountain, we trudged through snow covering the trail in many spots. The forecast for the next week was sunny or mixed clouds, but no precipitation, or so we thought... We eventually found a fantastic campsite on the top of some cliffs with a magnificent view of the valley below.

The campsite was just shy of our intended stop at the 'Causeway'. The cliffs and mountains here were stunning. We hit our first drizzle and noticed some menacing clouds in distance. We then came to a *** and headed north to Beef Basin Road. The country gradually turned from white mountains to the red rock cliffs seen in canyonlands. Once we were in Beef Basin, we didn't see another soul for the next few days. The trails here looked recently graded and wound through the canyons.

We stopped for lunch on an offshoot of the trail near some large rocks. We hiked up to get a view of the surrouding country, which was amazing. There were also some great wind swept rocks that had made little arches among the larger rocks. Ella had a great time running around and climbing the rocks.

We then headed further into Beef Basin looking for a campsite. Our goal this trip was for less driving and more relaxing. We eventually stumbled upon a sheltered campsite in a small valley that worked out great. We set-up camp and then Ella and I took off to explore the surrounding area and look for ruins. Rob and Beaver had bought a new Dutch Oven stove they were trying out that required quite a bit of preparation.

Ella and I drove around Beef Basin exploring and looking for ruins. This trail was very tight and actually meant for ATVs or hiking. The scrub had overgrown parts of the trail and Rangie definitely got some new pinstriping. We came across one of the Anasazi cliff dwellings, or granarys up in the cliff. We hiked up to take a better look. It was quite small, only about3 feet by 5 feet. Definitely not someplace people could sleep, but impressive none-the-less. I wonder how many hundreds of years it has been standing...

Back at camp, we had a great meal capped off with a blueberry cobbler and ice cream. Rob and Beaver's first attempt at Dutch oven cooking was definitely a success. We went to bed and were woken up a few times by the thunderstorm that dumped on us. In the morning, it was cold and wet. In fact at one point when I was loading up the rangie, it actually snowed on us! I threw everything into the truck in a big wet mess. Ella was cold and it was a miserable morning.

Moab 2011 page 2