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Tag Archives: fall colors

It was our final day in Utah and I started with breakfast at the Eklectica Cafe and then the girls and I went to the Moab Barkery and I went to the Back of the Beyond Bookstore. No doubt there are many other highlights in Moab but we really needed to get out and walk again. At an outdoor store, Grandstaff Canyon was recommended. It was a short distance from town so there were a few cars in the parking lot but not too many. A sign at the trailhead warned of poison ivy and said the dogs might brush up against it and not be affected, however a person could get it from her dogs. Great. Well, I already knew that but hadn’t considered I’d be running into poison ivy on trails in Utah.

We went anyway and were rewarded with a delightful canyon with a clear creek running through it. Also lots of fall colors. And at the end of the canyon was Morning Glory Bridge. It was another good hike.

I can’t say enough about the wonderful desert hiking we did while we were in the Bear’s Ears region of SE Utah. And we just began to explore the area.

Have you ever seen photos of slot canyons in the southwest? The beautiful rock and narrow passageways are beyond belief. These tunnels through the rock are formed by erosion over the eons. And during a rain event, you certainly would not want to be in one. I was lucky with the weather. During October, southeast Utah received over four inches of rain! While I was there, there was not one drop of precipitation. However, the dogs were lucky to find puddles or small streams of water on most of our hikes, left over from the previous month’s rainfall. I did always carry water for them but they seldom needed it.

The two slot canyons featured here are near the Goblin Valley State Park (more on that later) where we camped for two nights. The canyons, Bell and Little Wild Horse form a loop. They are located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands and dogs are allowed. In fact, these were rated as dog-friendly. And I suppose if I had smaller dogs or if I had a human hiking partner, maybe we would have gone further and made the entire loop. As it was, we came across obstacles that were four feet or more and I had to assist Luna a couple of times and catch Sky once before she fell backwards. But what really stopped us in Little Wild Horse Canyon was a rock wedged in the slot. I would have had to go under it or clamber over it and who knows what other obstacles I might find past that one. You can see Sky crouch to get under it and the photo is deceptive and doesn’t really show how high it was. Oh well. We had gone quite a ways and turned back to explore Bell Canyon. Again, there were four-foot obstacles but then we came to one that was five feet or so and I could not imagine lifting both of my 63 pound dogs over it and then hefting myself over it too. Later I found out that were obstacles as high as eight feet!

Slot canyons are a test of my claustrophobic inclinations. I generally avoid closed-in areas. I was mostly ok with these canyons since I could often see the sky above me. However, near that wedged rock, the canyon was very narrow and dark. It was fun and stunningly beautiful. And the cottonwood trees were so beautiful.

A friend and I walked with our dogs in the hills yesterday. It had rained the night before and the air was fresh and clean. There were low-lying clouds when we started but soon the sun broke through and we were warm going uphill. We heard a lot of shooting even though the main deer season is over. Probably target shooters. Luna doesn’t care for gunfire but she stayed close. We lingered a bit and the sun went down and suddenly it was chilly. Winter will soon be here.

This hike had just about everything – stunning fall colors, lingering wildflowers, grand vistas, perfect weather, wildlife sightings. Oh my.

We got out early and made the long and arduous drive to the Freezeout trailhead in order to hike up to 8000 plus foot Tiffany Mountain. The road is rocky but passable for most cars. It just takes a while. And I took even longer because I kept stopping to look at and photograph the fall colors. Some of the aspens were a vivid orange red instead of yellow. The dogs were getting anxious since I wasn’t letting them out. At the trailhead, while I was fiddling with my gear and before the dogs were out of the car, I heard a strange bellowing sound. It was something I’d never heard before. Bigfoot? I didn’t hear any thrashing around in the brush and wasn’t sure what to make of it but I had an idea of what it was.

The dogs wore their orange vests because it is hunting season for bear and grouse and also archery deer season. I had hardly seen anyone along the way but I figured it was better to be safe. The car said it was 45 degrees in the sun and on the shaded trail I found frost. There were some migrating raptors, mostly accipitors that I identified – Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks. There were lots of Clark’s Nutcrackers gathering seeds and making raucous calls. Chickadees and kinglets and bluebirds and juncos too. I saw a pika in the rocks near the mountain top.

The larches were vivid. The golden needles against the blue sky takes my breath away. The views that unfolded as I walked above the treeline were also breathtaking. I could see the North Cascades all the way to Mount Baker. Farther south, there was Glacier Peak. And I could see the continuing smoke from the Crescent Mountain wildfire. It will burn til the snow falls.

When we were returning to the trailhead, I heard some thrashing through the brush ahead and to the right. And then a cow moose crossed the trail not 100 feet ahead of us and she was followed by a bull moose! So that was the sound I heard earlier. The bull moose was bugling! It all happened pretty fast so no photos. There are moose in various places around this region but you just don’t see them very often.

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