Twelve Legs, October 2006

By , October 30, 2006 8:44 pm

A second anniversary vacation for Abby and Richard

Abby with Chihuahuas Sierra and Max at Butler Wash

Abby with Chihuahuas Sierra and Max at Butler Wash

Day 1…

For our second anniversary, Abby and I gathered our dogs, Chihuahuas Sierra and Max, for a trip to Utah. Our driving day, straight through to Monticello, Utah, was about 16 hours, but we had fun, and the dogs did just fine in our laps. By the time we arrived, it was cold in Monticello. We stayed in the Navajo Trail motel, which we liked very much.

Day 2…

Abby's image in the heart of Valley of the Gods

Abby’s image in the heart of Valley of the Gods

•Beautiful, blue-sky day for us.

•Hiked with the dogs to Butler Wash ruins and Natural Bridge, where they minded well and seemed to have a great time.

With Max and Sierra at Butler Wash

With Max and Sierra at Butler Wash

•Drove to Muley Point overlooking the San Juan River, where we left the dogs in the car and scouted around for a few minutes.

•Stopped briefly at the Mokee Dugway, the steep gravel highway leading up Cedar Mesa from far southern Utah, that we visited in 2003 on The High Road. We were amazed at the number of stickers that had accumulated on the sign in the three and a half years since our last visit.

Mokee Dugway Signs

Signs at Mokee Dugway, 2003 and 2006

•Once down the Dugway, we took the Valley of the Gods road, which leads across an expanse of desert punctuated with pinnacles, washes, boulder fields, and one small campground. The sky was beautiful.

•Wonderful dinner together in Monticello at M D Ranch Cookhouse.

Abby has breakfast at M D Ranch Cookhouse

Abby has breakfast at M D Ranch Cookhouse

Day 3…

Abby photographs Monument Valley

Abby photographs Monument Valley

•We left to dogs nested in our room in Monticello and took the guided tour of the Monument Valley Tribal Park. The entrance is just north of the Utah-Arizona state line, but the tour resides inside Arizona. The tour was $50 for each of us, and Abby and I strongly recommend it. Our guide, one of dozens of loosely-organized Navajo Tribe members, took us and a German couple through the park to four impressive natural arches. In the process, he told us stories of the land and its features, and at one point even sang a chant for us. His vehicle was an ancient Ford pickup with benches mounted on the bed for us to ride, covered with a rickety awning, all held together by duct tape.

•Abby liked our tour guide so much, especially his singing, that she tipped him $20.

Day 4…

•Abby took the day off to crochet and nap with the dogs, so I took the Hart’s Draw Road from Monticello to the Needles District of Canyonlands. I saw lots of deer, hunters, snow and Aspens.

•Hiked from the Squaw Flat trail head to Lost Canyon, then south until there were too many wet crossings, so I turned back.

Bench south of Squaw Flat

Bench south of Squaw Flat

•Made the Squaw Canyon-Big Spring Canyon loop, which connects at the southern end in a steep, spectacular bench and cliff complex that was some of the best hiking I’ve done in the park.

Canyons Confluence

Near the top where Squaw and Big Spring canyons join

Day 5…

•It was a very odd weather day, so we decided against hiking to Delicate Arch. We heard a ranger on the scanner report hail at the Fiery Furnace trail head in Arches.

Abby makes pictures at the Anticline Overlook.

Abby makes pictures at the Anticline Overlook.

•Instead we drove out onto Hatch Point and had a look at the Anticline Overlook. We both had a great time shooting in some very complex light and a chilly breeze.

•On the way back to our motel, we ran into some very beautiful and surprising blowing snow in the Monticello area.

•A simply great time with my wife.

Monticello snow

Monticello snow

Day 6…

•Cold, snowy morning; a perfect end for this trip to Utah.

Sunrise over the Abajo Mountains, Monticello, Utah

Sunrise over the Abajo Mountains, Monticello, Utah

Additional images:

Anticline overlook, Hatch Point, Utah.

Anticline overlook, Hatch Point, Utah.

With swiftly-changing weather, this image was made just minutes later, also at the Anticline overlook.

With swiftly-changing weather, this image was made just minutes later, also at the Anticline overlook.

Looking north, Anitcline overlook.

Looking north, Anitcline overlook.

Abby hikes the Anticline overlook, a short trail that leads to overlooks in several directions.

Abby hikes the Anticline overlook, a short trail that leads to overlooks in several directions.

Tree limbs and sky, Butler Wash, Utah.

Tree limbs and sky, Butler Wash, Utah.

Abby and Sierra the Chihuahua, Butler Wash.

Abby and Sierra the Chihuahua, Butler Wash.

Butler Wash Natural Bridge.

Butler Wash Natural Bridge.

Making pictures at Butler Wash.

Making pictures at Butler Wash.

Desert varnish and cottonwood trees, Lost Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Desert varnish and cottonwood trees, Lost Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Lost Canyon, Canyonlands National Park.

Lost Canyon, Canyonlands National Park.

Potholes with water near Squaw Flat, Canyonlands National Park.

Potholes with water near Squaw Flat, Canyonlands National Park.

Bench, Peek-a-Boo trail, Canyonlands National Park.

Bench, Peek-a-Boo trail, Canyonlands National Park.

Pinnacle, Squaw Canyon trail, Canyonlands National Park.

Pinnacle, Squaw Canyon trail, Canyonlands National Park.

Mule deer, Harts Draw Road near Monticello, Utah.

Mule deer, Harts Draw Road near Monticello, Utah.

Pool, stone and sticks, Harts Draw Road near Monticello, Utah.

Pool, stone and sticks, Harts Draw Road near Monticello, Utah.

Clouds and snow, La Sal Mountains, Utah.

Clouds and snow, La Sal Mountains, Utah.

Monument Valley, Arizona, viewed from Utah on U. S. 191.

Monument Valley, Arizona, viewed from Utah on U. S. 191.

Clouds, U. S. 191 near the Arizona-Utah border.

Clouds, U. S. 191 near the Arizona-Utah border.

Photographing Monument Valley; it was cold enough that I needed gloves and a fleece pullover, and Abby wore her warmest coat.

Photographing Monument Valley; it was cold enough that I needed gloves and a fleece pullover, and Abby wore her warmest coat.

Clouds and butte, Monument Valley, Arizona.

Clouds and butte, Monument Valley, Arizona.

Powered paragliders near John Ford's Point, Monument Valley, Arizona.

Powered paragliders near John Ford’s Point, Monument Valley, Arizona.

Mittens overlook, Monument Valley.

Mittens overlook, Monument Valley.

Hogan interior, Monument Valley Tribal Park.

Hogan interior, Monument Valley Tribal Park.

Abby photographs Muley Point, Utah.

Abby photographs Muley Point, Utah.

San Juan River viewed from Muley Point.

San Juan River canyons viewed from Muley Point.

Watch the Twelve Legs QuickTime movie here…

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