Along the Colorado River, Part 2

Along the Colorado River, Part 2
Wednesday, October 17Today we left Hittle Bottom Campground and moved into Portal RV Park in Moab. Portal is not in any of the RV books we own. We found it many years ago and like it a lot. It’s not cheap – $35/night – but the grounds are well kept, the WiFi works well and the owner are nice. All amenities are available and it is the closest to downtown Moab. They’ve recently expanded the property to include ownable and leasable lots in a separate part of the park. Since then, the RV part has become sort of a second class citizen. We don’t have access to the pool or club room, but we really never use those sorts of facilities anymore. Almost right next door is Silckrock RV Park. It is not quite as neat as Portal, but it does have much shadier sites and is a bit cheaper. The WiFi can be a problem here, but our cellphone hotspot now negates this problem. We ended up there later during the week when we couldn’t extend our stay at Portal. Anyway, we hung out the rest of Wednesday at Portal, watched the Giants lose again in the evening and planned our hike for Thursday.

Lots of wildflowers can still be found along the trail.

Thursday’s hike is Negro Bill Canyon. Not a real nice name in these politically correct times, but considering it used to be called Ni**er Bill, it is an improvement. Who knows, in 30 years or so it may change to something like Black Bill, or African American Bill. But I think I would prefer Brother Bill Canyon if it came right down to it.

This is one of the most popular hikes in the Moab area, so we got started by mid-morning to beat the crowds. It is a 4.5 mile roundtrip hike that runs along a stream for much of the way. It is mostly level and pretty easy, but there are around 7 stream crossings in the middle third of the hike. In the final third of the hike, the trail rises and falls a few times no more than 100′ before reaching Morning Glory Arch. The arch is kind of hidden but pretty spectacular. It is right up against another sandstone cliff and probably several hundred feet above the ground. Every time we’ve been there, climbers have repelled from mid-span to the floor. They have to hike overland to get there, then hike out the 2.25 miles to the canyon entrance.

This time in, we didn’t go to the end. We were most attracted to the stream and plant life growing along it’s banks anyway. There was nice fall color in the oak and Cottonwoods and other various trees along the way, and the canyon walls reflecting in the stream at various places was enough to keep us occupied for several hours. The last part of the hike to the arch is a little bit of a trudge with little shade, and frankly, unless you are there with few other people, it gets a little irritating with the echoing kids and barking dogs. So we decided the first 2/3 would be fine for this day.

In the evening we watched the Giants lose yet again. Their backs are against the wall AGAIN. Now they must win the final 3 games to get to the World Series – a mighty big feat. On the positive side, if they lose on Friday, we will not need network TV the rest of the trip and will be free to camp where ever we wish.

Friday we planned on taking the La Sal Loop drive. This is a 60 mile drive that winds through the La Sal mountains and later comes down through the Castle Valley. Very picturesque. We were thwarted however as the road through the mountain portion (40 miles of the road) is closed, probably through December, for repairs. As our back up plan, we just drove the Castle portion up to a viewpoint. It was a nice view, and a new area we hadn’t looked before. Quite a bit of dispersed camping up toward the top, but too far away for anything we would want to do. When the road turned to gravel, we stopped at a turn-out/camping area and took a short stroll to the edge for the view and also discovered dinosaur tracks in the rock.

The view from above Castle Valley.

Mary tries on a dinosaur print for size.

So we are back in camp now awaiting another Giants game. If they lose, we are off to Island in the Sky for a few days. If they win, we will have to figure out how to manage our locations to be sure we can watch the final games taking place back in San Francisco.

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2 Responses to Along the Colorado River, Part 2

  1. Chris Horst says:

    The photo of the dinosaur footprint is just so cool. Close your eyes and drift back in time. Was it marked with a sign or just there for anyone to stumble on? I always worry about folks vandalizing such treasures.


  2. Hi Chris. We had talked with someone at the Moab visitor center who told us about the dinosaur tracks in that area. They are not marked in any way, but the area is fenced off – mostly to keep livestock away from the edge of the cliff I guess. It is public access so you just have to unhitch the wire gate and look around a bit. We had actually forgotten to look for them, but a couple of bicyclist clued us in as we sauntered by. We were there for the view, but the tracks were pretty cool too. We found at least 2 clear tracks and maybe several others. They can be difficult to differentiate from simple pits in the rock if you are not looking for them.

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