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Then Into Utah

April 17, 2018

Lake Ridgeway State Park 11th April

The Uncompahgre River at this point is classed as a Gold Medal Water because of the size of trout that are found in this stretch. The Parks & Wildlife in the past have spent good money on improving the river and placing boulders in positions that attract the fish. Last night and today I put having a licence to good use although not successfully in this instance. It is a ‘Catch & Release’ stretch of water meaning the trout here are getting fatter and fatter. Speaking to a Denver visitor today he was saying he had a friend who caught a 28” Rainbow along this stretch. I will try again tomorrow but even being on the river is so relaxing whether I catch anything or not. When we were checking in to this State Park the volunteer told us to speak to ‘Bill’ about the best places to fish. Bill met us on the footbridge over the river and pointed out the trout lying just below us and also the best holes to fish. He has worked for the National Parks service for over 21 years in Yellowstone first then here at Lake Ridgeway.

The drive from Durango yesterday had us going over three passes, the highest some 2300 metres. Snow was heavy on the ground right up to the road. The darkly wooded trees were a contrast to the scene of whiteness. The local forecast for Friday is a minimum of 18F with snow anticipated. If I remember correctly 18F is well below freezing. Tomorrow we head west back into Utah where we will visit Canyonlands NP and Maybe Arches NP although I believe the latter is very busy.

San Miguel River. BLM 12th April.


Coffee in the US has a bad reputation what with a Starbucks being on every second corner but we’ve found the opposite up till now. Take today. I threw the line in once more this morning meaning our get away wasn’t much before our normal morning coffee. But no, we won’t make our own, we would have a look at nearby Ridgeway which seemed to be a progressive small town to see what they had to offer. There were two on the main (and only) street. The Cimarron Book & Coffee Shop took our fancy. The coffee was hot and strong. Kim sold coffee beans as well. It was one of the occasions where you can sample before you buy.

A frustrating day as we had travelled some 120kms after morning tea, just taking our time and on stopping for lunch discovered a bag had been left back at the coffee shop. The helpful staff in the diner we were having lunch lent us her phone as ours was showing ‘no service’ and yes, it had been discovered two hours after we had left and handed in. So it was back to Ridgeway and then re tracing our steps a third time to find us spending the night still fairly high and this cold front hit two hours ago. No plug in here so it will be a three dog night I feel.

I threw the line in before tea and managed to catch my first Rainbow. Unfortunately it was chicken for tea as it was too small to fry.


Canyonlands NP Utah. 13th April

The scene this morning on looking out the window was one of white. The cold front deposited about 6 inches of snow throughout the valley where we were parked. I thought I would duck down to the river for half an hour casting but the eyelets on the rod froze up as soon as they became wet. It took a while making the bakkie driveable and putting the wet canvas fly etc away but 7.30 saw us on the road. Fortunately the road was snow-free and there was no ice lying around. But the day has remained cold with a bitter wind blowing. At the Visitor Info Centre at Monticello the temp was 36F at 12 noon. Here at Canyonlands the camp area has no hookup meaning no heater. It will be another early night. Cold weather was expected on this trip but the change in the last couple of days has hurt.

But Canyonlands is another amazing park with sandstone buttresses, mesas and deep canyons. It is ideal for a bit of trekking, will see how we feel tomorrow.


Creek Pasture Camping. Another BLM Site 14th April.

Well we didn’t make it very far today. This camp ground is about 15kms from the Canyonlands NP. It wasn’t our intention of stopping, just thought a perusal of the camp site wouldn’t hurt. It’s a first in best dressed camp, one of three near the park catering for the overflow from the camp ground inside the park. There was one site not taken, it was early afternoon, the sun was warm in a cloudless sky and little breeze and after a freezing night, how could we resist? This morning we drove into parts of the park not visited yesterday, then after our coffee break went on a 4km trek over a smooth-rocked mesa that looks down to another of those remarkable canyons. Took us a couple of hours including at least 20 minutes chatting to fellow walkers passing by. Americans seem to be very hesitant greeting strangers and having a chat, but Joan has the knack and soon conversation would be flowing.

The advertising department of Subaru have done an amazing job of promoting their product. In the park we drove to Elephant Hill, a trail recommended for 4WDs. Coming back at our coffee stop I counted the vehicles passing by. Two out of every three cars would’ve been a Subaru. We spoke to a family from Colorado about it later and yes, they had one as well. In the car park at the Visitors Centre it’s the same. Subarus everywhere.


Drink’s Canyon, on Banks of Colorado River 15th April

Another great Bureau of Land Management campsite metres from the muddy Colorado River. The sandstone cliffs tower above us on both sides. At this point it is quite a big river and moving fairly quickly.

We visited Arches National Park today. In this area there are over 2000 sandstone arches and the park has many of them. The amount of time it must take to form them is hard to comprehend.

But, as we have been told to expect, the park was very crowded especially being a Sunday. The car parks were often full and there was no chance of having some quiet time on one of the walks. Not one of our favourite parks.





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