spent the night on a remote cliff ledge with a great view of
Nine Mile Canyon to the south. The wind was strong all
night, but because we oriented Thor's nose into the wind, the
impact on the camper was minimal. There were some strong
gusts but the noise was the only way to tell it was
blowing. By the next morning, most of the clouds had moved
on. It was still windy, but bearable. Our plan was
to continue down Sandy Wash to the Green River raft put-in site
and look around. From there, go west, then north into the
Vernal, UT area and reassess our near-term plans.
The photos below are what we saw.
photo above should have been in the previous set; it shows the
interesting lighting on the cliffs as the sun briefly shone
through. This view is looking to the southeast from our
cliff camp. Nine Mile Canyon is in the inner gorge of the
canyon you can see above.
we left the area, we drove back to the cliff overlook. A
side canyon of Nine Mile was now clearly visible in the morning
was an extensive line of cliffs to the north of the trail that
went on for many miles. Closer to the Green River, the
erosion resulted in interesting mud palisades.
Wash trail was one of the primary access points to the Green
River raft put-in. There was a BLM ranger station there so
the trail was in pretty good shape. The trail followed the
contours of the cliffs and skirted every side canyon resulting
in a set of switchbacks without any elevation gain.
Erosion on the cliffs had produced hoodoos from the harder cap
the road there were a set of balanced rocks produced by hard cap
rock that had fallen and then served as a cap for a different
layer of softer material.
to skirt each side canyon.
the side canyons were quite substantial. These canyons
eventually emptied into Nine Mile Canyon to the south.
motored on at a good rate and I spotted this fellow sunning
himself in the middle of the road. I drove around him and
perhaps because the ambient temperature was in the mid-50s, he
was unable to move at any reasonable pace.
fellow is not a rattlesnake but rather a non-venomous species
like a Bull Snake. It is interesting that the stripes on
his head are also continued in the pigment of his eye.
to the Sandy Wash put-in just in time to see several rafts launch
on a multi-day trip down the Green River. The BLM ranger
was watching and he and I talked for quite awhile.
Interesting fellow; he lives at the site for 3 days a week and
switches off with 2 other fellows.
group prepares to depart. The water in the river is in the
high 40's so the gal in the swim suit is going to freeze her
girly bits right off. A wet suit, not a swim suit, would
be more appropriate attire given the conditions.
things were "back in the day". Hand hewn logs (likely fished from the
river) were chinked with clay-based mud to provide the basic
exit from the Sand Wash put-in we noticed what appears to be a
tunnel cut in the cliff wall.
was another entrance on the opposite wall of the canyon.
further up the canyon, we could see a number of tunnel
entrances. Given that the sandstone and shale in this area
is not typically "interesting" in an economic sense, I am
guessing that these were test tunnels that were looking for
uranium. Uranium was in fact found in these strata, but in
another 30 miles until we came to this drill rig. This
area is known to produce both gas and oil. In the distance
is the High Unita range with peaks over 14,000 feet.
was quite good sized. You can see the workmen in the
parking lot for a size comparison. The tree trailers in
the bottom left are the power plant for the rig.
machine appears to be a hoist or winch of some kind. Note
the capstans on the ends.
further north we drove, the thicker the construction
traffic. Then we met this convoy of Baker-Hughes trucks
bringing in the components of another drill rig to be assembled
on-site somewhere back in the hills. There were about 30
trucks in the convoy.
junction of Sandy Wash trail with the blacktop, we were stuck in
a huge traffic jam as part of road construction. We waited
for perhaps 20 minutes to move. Then we headed east on
US191. We were happily driving along US191 and a rock from
an oncoming semi hit us on the passenger side windshield leaving
a nice souvenir of our journey.
Vernal, UT and headed into the Smith's grocery for supplies when
we spotted this prime specimen. As the old joke goes, "She
had more chins than a Chinese phone book".
getting late and the dinner preparations would take the better
part of 2 hours, so we sought a quick, easy place to camp.
We chose Red Fleet State Park about 10 miles north of
Vernal. From our camp, we had a nice view of the sandstone
cliffs to the north.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2013,
all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.