Tag-A-Long Expedition – Sand Flats – Kokopelli Trail
May 11th was a day for us to switch campgrounds (we couldn’t get a reservation at one place for the entire period) and catch up on some work, so we didn’t go anywhere.
May 12th, we took a boat trip down the Colorado River. Tag-A-Long Expeditions was well reviewed and was only a couple bucks more than the cheapest boat trip we found, so we met in the morning at their office and boarded a bus to the river. The bus took us down Potash Road again to the boat ramp right before the off-road section. The boat was unloaded and we boarded from the shore once our driver, Doug, had finished parking the boat and the bus.
Once everyone was settled, we headed south on the Colorado towards Canyonlands. For most of the trip, we would be on the river below the plateaus we were on yesterday while going to Shafer Canyon. Most of it looked like this:
Of course, we also got out for a bit and did a short walk to an area with some petrified trees. According to Doug, at some time in the past (a few millennia ago), a bunch of trees were washed down in a mud slide. They then had lots of mud deposited on them over time, but never rotted because there was no oxygen. Eventually, minerals seeped in and replaced the cells of the wood, which petrified them. A few millennia later, the ground shifted and they were exposed. It’s hard to capture in a picture, but here’s one that is still partially “stuck in the mud”.
Most of the rest of the trip was narrative about the different areas we were travelling through and how different layers of the rocks indicated different things. Geologists and historians would go nuts for it. I was pretty much just enjoying the ride and the scenery. 😉
After the boat trip (roughly four hours), we headed out to Sand Flats Recreation Area. It’s a park managed by both the BLM and Grand County with a lot of off-road trails. One of the more notorious is “Baby Lion’s Back”. Here’s the view about 2/3 of the way down:
For those who are familiar with Moab off-roading, “Lions Back” is closed. It’s a much larger “fin” that people used to be able to drive on. I’ve heard various rumors about why it’s closed, but they all basically boil down to the fact that Lions Back is on private land and the owner doesn’t want to be liable. Honestly, I doubt we would have taken it anyway. There were plenty of vistas and extreme angles as it was.
Speaking of which… we ran half of a trail called Fins And Things then headed up to the Kokopelli Trail. We made a couple of wrong turns (okay, I was just going where I thought it looked cool) and came up to an overlook.
|We climbed a little hill and I couldn’t see over the hood, so we got out to take a look. Here’s where we stopped:|
|From Dasy’s viewpoint in the previous picture… it looks like this!
Pretty neat, but I’m glad I didn’t take it on blind faith that there was a road over that hill. ;) By the way, the above picture isn’t taken with a wide-angle lens and I didn’t “doctor it” or anything, it really looks like a giant bowl in the earth. The parts in the center that look like scratches are roads. It was really quite an unexpected and marvelous sight.
We backed out of that overlook and continued on what I thought was the Kokopelli Trail. Either half the trail isn’t marked or I got lost. The part that I did find was very steep and narrow and had a very good chance of scratching the new Jeep up, so I backed out… right as it started snowing.
We continued on what became a forest road until we reached Lasalle Loop Road, which we took back towards Moab. On the way, I spotted what looked like a waterfall, so we detoured to check it out. We found Faux Falls… a fake waterfall made by the county when they diverted a mountain stream through a tunnel.
After that, we headed back to the RV to unwind and prepare for another day.