Scenic drives with friends – Moab, Utah

I am so much enjoying flipping through my Moab pictures as I write this post, reliving recent wonderful times with friends.  While there, we were grateful to be offered a ride into the backcountry where high clearance vehicles were required.  Our friends Dave and Sue kindly drove us into some spectacular scenery in their Jeep (named Rocky) that they had enjoyed previously.  Onion Creek Road, located off of highway 128, was our destination.  The road winds through a narrow valley, crossing Onion Creek approximately 30 times (according to the official score tabulated by Sue and myself).

Rocky at his first creek crossing, about 28 more to go!

Hoodoos high up on the cliffs

Source of the sulfur smell that gave Onion Creek its name

A ribbon of red dirt forms Hogback Ridge

A “wow” moment, you have to see this in person to get the full effect

Sue looked like an ant walking through The Narrows

Onion Creek Salt Diapir

The contrast of colors and textures in the diverse formations was amazing.  And if you’re into geology, this link gives more detail about these fabulous formations.

After several hours of gawking at the jaw-dropping scenery, we topped off our day with some wine tasting at Castle Valley Winery.

Doc Harry and Chris, whom we met during our Viking River Cruise last October, arrived in Moab a few days later.  This time we played host and took them on a scenic drive that did not require a high clearance vehicle.  Forty-four mile long highway 128 is also known as the “River Road”, for it runs along the Colorado River with 2,000-foot red rock cliffs rising on both sides.  We had driven it several times before, and taking Harry and Chris was a great excuse to revisit this gorgeous scenery that we never tire of.  The river corridor offers a spectacular view of world-class climbing destination Fisher Towers, and Professor Valley where several movies have been filmed.

High sheer sandstone walls of the gorge

Fisher Towers in the shadow of La Sal Mountains

Steve, Chris and Harry at Professor Valley

Fisher Towers is a mecca for rock climbers, and there were a few of them when we arrived

Colorado River and the Richardson Amphitheater viewed from behind Red Lodge

Green trees contrasting against red hills

Capping our day with a happy hour and dinner at the Henderson’s

On days when everyone was doing their own things, Steve and I did one last hike on the Portal Overlook Trail.  The day was overcast and windy, but we still enjoyed the sweeping views of Moab Valley, the south portal of the Colorado River, a glimpse of Arches National Park and the distant La Sal Mountains.  This trail mirrors the Stairmaster Trail on the eastern side of the river, but is more exposed, with sheer drops up to several hundred feet.  Another gem of a hike in this area!

Pancakes lined the trail

Across the river is the Stairmaster Trail that runs along the anticline

Straight down about 980′

There were several warnings for bikers along the exposed trail

Looking north, the Colorado River enters Moab Valley, with Arches NP in the background

Yet another warning for bikers to be extra careful on the trail

One final look at Moab Valley from above

With our friends also camped at Portal RV Resort, we enjoyed several happy hours and scrumptious dinners:

Shrimp boil, courtesy of Dave and Sue

A colorful vegetarian dish prepared by me

A final meal together before we all go our own ways 🙂

And with that, we bid goodbye to Moab as we move on to new explorations and adventures!

 

Next up:  Nine Mile Canyon