Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument....ATV Excursion
When we arrived, they were organized and friendly and our atv was ready for us. They gave us a satellite GPS and a hand drawn map, and sent us on our way......into the wilderness without a clue where we were going. YIKES!
After driving for about 30 minutes, we somehow found the first stop.
Our map said to look for 2 large rocks next to a post.
We took S Center St to Proctor Rd out of town. That eventually turned into Cedar Wash Road which took us to our first destination.
Our map was labeled as Subway but we later learned that this stop is also called Covered Wagon Bridge so we weren't sure what was what.
We really liked the arch, but LOVED the subway!
The subway is a large half rounded tunnel that was so cool.
We ran through yelling and singing......glad no one was around......for miles and miles.
So glad we found this stop. I wish I had taken a picture of the map. It had about 3 or 4 squiggly lines on a piece of paper and a few X's with names written by them.
Time to go again. We had 6 hours but this area is so huge and this little car has a max speed of about 40 mph, so better get moving.
Al had driven for this first leg of the journey, and somehow when I looked in the backseat, I noticed that Abby was almost asleep. WHAT! We didn't pay hundreds of dollars to sleep through this 4 wheel adventure, so Abby and I decided I should drive. I had a feeling this razor went faster than 20 mph. Oh boy, was I right!
On to the next X on the map. We were still on a dirt road and somehow managed to turn onto Hole-in-the-Rock Road. There are no signs, no indicators of any kind, as to where you are, but I guess by some directional skills we might have and a little luck, we made it to the famous road. Our dirt trails were just for atv's and maybe horses or even walking, but now we had to share the road with cars. It was so dusty when they passed us that we covered our noses and mouths and maybe even closed our eyes - not fully admitting to that. What we found really funny was that some cars and even trucks were actually going slower than us and we passed them!
By the time we arrived at our next stop, we were definitely ready to get out of this hot little atv. Al was happy to still be alive after experiencing my fun driving. We detoured off the main road and onto some side trails which were slippery and slopey - is that a word? Abby and I thought it was FUN!
It is absolutely AMAZING! And we got there Amazingly Fast with the new, less timid driver!
We had been driving through vast nothingness for several miles - who knows how many - I think 12.
This part of the park has hoodoos, natural arches, and sandstone formations.
Lean to the left.
Surprises around every turn. This has a clever name.......The Four Hoodoos.
It kind of looks like trolls....maybe?
There was another couple here when we arrived, but they were leaving.
It meant we had the whole place to ourselves.
It's really a rather large area, about 640 acres or 1 square mile, but it was great to be here alone.
Not sure if she's trying to move it or keep it from rolling away.
Fun under the arch.
We had the feeling 'Free To Be Me' here.
This formation, known as Melate Arch, was very cool - a little tiny strip holding up a giant boulder. Don't let us down now!
Always a dancer!
Love this view!
Through the Ho!
We did find several holes in the rock but I'm pretty sure these are not what the road is name after.
These giant rocks were just fantastic.
We couldn't stop exploring or taking pictures.
Better zoom in.
Better take it with the phone too.
This one kind of sits out all alone.
There were many that we could climb on or in.......
so we did.
Around every bend was something new.
From the backside....
From the front side.....
This section of the Grand Staircase was named Devil's Garden in 1979. The Hole in the Rock Road dates back about 100 years when a group of Mormon pioneers searching for a new settlement location grew desperate for water and decided to cut a path, wide enough for wagons, to traverse the steep cliffs over huge rocks to reach the Colorado River, 2000 feet below, well before the creation of Lake Powell. So, if you're brave enough or crazy enough, not sure which - maybe a little of both, to make the long rough journey out this 60 mile bumpy, dusty, isolated dirt road, you will find the Hole in the Rock cut by these settlers 100 years ago.
We drove about 30 of those 60 miles.
Elevation here is above 5000 feet!
This was the top of a huge sandstone formation.
It was fun jumping from hoodoo to hoodoo.
If you hike in the Grand Staircase and ever feel lost, just remember that the mountains that border the west side are the Straight Cliffs and the Hole-in-the-Rock Road runs parallel with them. The town of Escalante is to the north. It's very easy to navigate, always being able to see a giant landmark.
A great overview from the top of the hoodoos looking west toward the mountains.
The sandstone formations have been forming for the last 166 million years.
Grand Staircase is know for having many fossils dating back millions of years including dinosaurs, fish, lizards, sharks, mollusks, turtles, and even mammals.
There are so many interesting formations here, I just couldn't stop clicking.
I ask myself all the time 'Self, what are you going to do with all these pictures?'
I really don't expect an answer. I just keep on clicking.
It doesn't feel right to not zoom in.
This is one of my favorite places in the world now.
I just feel like I could stay here all day.
It's beautiful, magnificent, amazing, fun, peaceful......WOW!
It's such a bonus that no one is here!
This structure is actually up pretty high and on a steep slope.
I saw most of Devil's Garden like this although I was surprised to see that we only took about 300 pictures.
Unfortunately, it's time to go. I think we spent about an hour and a half here. I could have definitely stayed longer. We climbed on the rocks, ducked through arches, slid down slopes, jumped crevasses, and had a terrific time!
Back in our little car again. It was loud and had a lot of heat coming up from the floor. At one point, it felt like our legs were cooking! It wasn't all great - haha. Also, there was no chance for a conversation. If you saw something interesting, you just pointed and hoped the others saw what you saw.
Our last stop was a few more miles out on Hole in the Rock Road right across from the Peek-a-Boo and Spooky slot canyon turnoff, and then maybe 2 miles or so west off the 'main' road. This was the roughest stretch of road we traveled. Not suitable for a 2 wheel drive car.
It was some caves and an old rusted car.
The old gangster style car was riddled with bullet holes. We imagined a couple of bank robbers heading out this old desolate road to hide out in such a remote location, but what happened? Why didn't they leave here? Will we find their skeletons? Will we find their MONEY?
Is this where they stayed? Who did live here and when?
Way more questions than answers.
There were three man-made caves with big doors and spacious rooms. Who even found these caves? They are so far off the beaten path
It was kind of eerie being all the way out here. Not knowing if some weirdo bango-playing hicks could be here just waiting for the unsuspecting tourists.......
So the caves are called Batty Caves and a couple of brothers lived here and ran a mining operation. Not quite as exciting as our fantasized story. We took in the sights and explored the caves and decided to hit the road. There wasn't much to do here, but a fun stop.
There was a lot more greens and yellows here than we had seen all day.
Load up....has a different meaning to us than those gun-toting thieves that may have been here before us.
We were planning and scheming how to make the long journey back to town fun and exciting for the scaredy-cat. The more he whined and cried, the crazier the driving got!
Goodbye criminal hangout destination......Escalante, here we come!
After miles of dirt and rocks, plus a lot of dust, finally a sign of life!
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