Photo courtesy Amanda Summerlin Photography
Headed out of Challis, we turned onto Morgan Creek Road headed for Shoup. We took our time on the gravel leading to taking pictures, looking at cabins, looking at animals, and enjoying the beautiful fall color.
F remembered “a little hole in the wall bar” downriver so we set out to see if it was still there. Eventually, we found it: the M-T Saddle Saloon. A couple of beers sounded like a really good plan so we walked inside and ordered ourselves a round. We sat down on some lawn chairs just off the porch and, as it usually goes, it took a bit for the patrons already on the porch to warm up to us. As they slowly did, we were bought a round of drinks (or two) as congratulations for our wedding.
It cooled off and I started to get sorta hungry. See, we’d been planning on going back up river to a restaurant to get dinner but instead we were having too much fun. We asked the bartender if they had a microwave we might use and provided our own burritos…he provided us with some chips and salsa to go with it.
As we ate, they encouraged us to stick around for the next night. Saturday night at the M-T Saddle is apparently potluck night. The proprietor whips up a big pot of chili and everyone contributes something. We weren’t really sure what our plans were so we tried not to commit one way or the other. Mike let us sleep in the van right outside the bar.
In the morning, we drove down river to the end of the road and dreamed about rafting “The River of No Return” someday. We stopped along the river so Sprocket could demonstrate his amazing jumping skills—we were duly impressed.
After the swimming, we checked out a new bridge over the Salmon. It lead to a hiking trail and we unexpectedly found ourselves on a 7 mile hike with over 2,600′ elevation gain. I was whiny and hungry pretty much the whole way but the view at the top was pretty awesome.
After our hike, we ate mostly unfrozen burritos and washed our feet in the river before heading back to the M-T Saddle for their potluck dinner. Everything was delicious and we were happy to relax for a couple of hours. Just before dark, we decided to press on upriver a bit to get a jump on our drive home the next day. F was also hoping for a milkshake dessert at the Shoup General Store but they were closed when we drove by. We made camp just a couple miles east of Shoup.
In the morning, we crossed over Lost Horse Pass and headed for home.
And thus ends, my internet friends, the wonderful 3Up Adventure wedding trip. We had a wedding completely filled with love, lots of playing in the desert, and even managed to get some adventure in on the way back home. Perfect trip.
Wednesday morning we were hoping to be able to climb Mt. Peale (the highest peak in the La Sals) but a fresh blanket of snow had fallen on Thursday and the weather wasn’t looking very promising. Instead, Blaze, Ezra, and Jolleen decided to start their trips back home leaving F and I relaxing on the couch with the History Channel’s series on the Presidents.
After a few hours of this though, F got restless and we decided to pack it up and go to Danette and Kirk’s for dinner. We packed up the van, closed up the rental house, and headed for Moab. Although Danette and Robin didn’t get home until late, it was still fun to have one more chance to catch up before we hit the road.
In the morning, F and Sprocket and I decided to head up into the La Sals. There was snow on the peaks and we felt sort of bad that Sprocket had been cooped up so much so we bailed on climbing Mt. Peale and stuck to hiking around with our pup. The colors were absolutely incredible and the crisp mountain air felt great.
Back in town it only took us a few minutes to make final departure preparations. We were a bit concerned about running into traffic in SLC so I browsed Back of Beyond Books while F dropped off our signed marriage license at the courthouse. Soon, it was time to leave for real. We made pretty good time on our way to Salt Lake, stopping in Green River to pick up a melon.
We decided that we deserved a treat so we hit up a little Indian food restaurant in the city. It tasted so delicious (now I want Indian food…). After dinner, we headed to Ogden to spend the night.
Up early in the morning, we headed north. As we drove through Pocatello, we decided we should go home via Highway 93 instead of the interstate. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), we were so busy discussing something that we missed our exit we intended to take and took a “scenic” route through the potato farms. We were pretty sad that EBR-1 was closed for the season but we stopped in Arco to take Sprocket’s picture with the USS-Hawkbill (aka “The Devil Boat,” SSN-666).
The drive up US-93 was really pretty and it looked like there was LOTS of exploring to be done on both sides of the highway. I’m sure we’ll be back here, jeep in tow, to explore some more (still haven’t climbed Borah Peak!). In Challis, we stopped at the Ranger Station to see how the fires in the area were going. While we waited at the drive-in at the bowling alley (yes, the drive in at the bowing alley) for our burgers, we decided we weren’t in that big of a rush to get home and we were taking the Morgan Creek/Panther Creek road to Shoup. I mean, it was only Friday afternoon, right? We had the whole weekend ahead of us.
On our way home from our hike on Tuesday it was torrentially raining. However, a quick look at the radar showed that things to the west (in our planned photoshoot location) were looking clear. F put on his suit, I put my dress in the van, Amanda grabbed her lights and her backpack and away we went—no showers, no makeup, just us in our sweet wedding duds one more time.
I’m so glad we did this. I got to spend a bunch of time with F just being us after the bustle of the wedding and a house full of people.
And these pictures. Wow.
All photos copyright Amanda Summerlin.
Tuesday morning, we headed towards Morning Glory Canyon again to do some climbing. F and I were anxious to do some more free exploring like we’d done briefly in the Cable Arch area. We parked at Morning Glory and walked back east on the road looking for a place to pop out on top.
It took a few minutes but we finally found a crack that looked like it would “go.” The rock was pretty crumbly but we all made it up to the top without incident. We all enjoyed our time scrambling around.
We found ourselves in some difficult spots but still had a great time. After eating lunch on top with views to Behind the Rocks, out to Canyonlands and Arches, and down to the Colorado, we hiked out via the Moab Rim jeep trail. (The big rainstorm rushing in from the west complete with lightning was enough to keep us all moving quickly!)
Monday the house started to clear out a bit. Kurt and Sandi headed back for Wyoming with Pat and Cindy following not too far behind. Stacia and Dre headed for Denver. My mom, aunt, and godmother came out in the early afternoon to say goodbye before heading back to town to relax before flying out on Tuesday.
Ezra, Jolleen, Blaze, Skye and Ashley went into Arches in the morning. When they came back out to the house we decided to launch ahead with plans to go rafting. However, with the not so warm weather, F and I decided to just be the shuttle and Skye & Ashley decided to get a jump on their drive home. Blaze, Jolleen, and Ezra were still in to brave the river though so in they went (brrr).
Back at the house, we made steaks and relaxed with some TV and wine. Amanda came back from her adventure in Arches and joined us in the living room. (She even showed us a bunch of pictures from the jeeping adventure!) We had a blast just relaxing, laughing at the dog, and being really quite wine silly.
Although the weather looked a bit unsettled for the next day, we made plans with Amanda to do our “day after shoot” (days are relative when you’re on vacation) out at Canyonlands the next evening.
At the end of Hells Revenge, most people were pretty tired and ready to head back to the house. Some of us, however, were up for some more fun so Thomas, Tasha, Blaze, Skye, Jason, Jolleen, Amanda, F and I headed over to run Cliffhanger. We made a brief pit stop at Morning Glory Canyon to play on the Indian ladder before we arrived at the trailhead. As it turns out, the entrance to Cliffhanger looked a bit more intense than anyone wanted to attempt with a rental Jeep.
So F suggested we all hike up to Cable Arch. There was lots of scrambling around and we finally found the cable and headed up to the view point. On the way down, I headed over to a crack that F said he once climbed back to the top and started exploring. It wasn’t long before F, Blaze, Skye, and Jolleen made their way in as well. We all had a blast scrambling around and exploring. One of my very favorite things about Moab is the scrambling and climbing around and it was a blast to do it with so many adventurous people!
Back at the car, we headed back for the house where Pat and Cindy had graciously volunteered to cook dinner for everyone. Pat made an awesome stew in his Dutch oven on the BBQ and it was all devoured in minutes. Leftover pie also came out of the refrigerator and was a big hit.
Amanda, Stacia and I arrived at Sandflats just before 10am. Since no one had arrived at the trailhead, I decided (on F’s suggestion) to take them up and over Baby Lion’s Back. There’s two ways you can approach Baby Lion’s Back, from the front side, you can see what’s coming and it’s a bit less steep. To get to the backside, you head down a sandy trail, make a sharp turn to your left and start climbing steeply. Clearly, I just didn’t really tell anyone what was going on and went the back way. 🙂
When we arrived at the Hells Revenge trailhead, everyone started to pull in. We had the whole lot to ourselves which was a surprise for a fall Sunday but also a relief as we knew with six vehicles (mostly novice drivers) we were going to be sloowwww.
F had fun seeing what our little jeep could do (and seeing how much he could scare me in the process). There were some fears (mostly conquered), some victories (Pat and Cindy should be proud of themselves and their stock FJ Cruiser), only minimal mechanical issues (a broken rear drive shaft) and a lot of fun had by all.
Bright and early, Stacia, Andrea, Amanda, and I headed for Morning Glory Canyon (aka Negro Bill Canyon) to do some hiking. There was actually a little more to the plan than just hiking through the beautiful canyon but only 75% of us knew that. 🙂
Amanda relates the story pretty perfectly over at her blog with lots and lots of pictures. Here’s a couple of my favorites, plus some more tidbits from me.
Stacia and I weren’t sure how far we wanted to hike or exactly what setting she wanted to propose in. What we did know is that we were the only car in the parking lot so we had the canyon to ourselves. There were a few almost right places but when we came to a place where the creek ran right next to the gorgeous red rock with a stone out in the middle of the water we looked at each other, Stacia nodded, and it was a go. I wandered back towards Amanda and Dre and sort of ushered them forward while I headed back down the trail to figure out how to climb up to a ledge above the trail (and in the process managed to scratch my wedding ring just 12 hours after putting it on*).
After what seemed like an appropriate amount of time, I headed back up trail to see if the coast was clear. It was and I pulled a specially carried bottle of sparkling cider from my backpack…only to discover I’d forgotten the bottle opener… oops. (I did try to open it on the rock but only succeeded in scraping my knuckles, alternative bottle opening technique is F’s gig.)
The rest of the hike was awesome. We went another 3/4 of a mile or so while Andrea gushed about how surprised she was and while Stacia told her story of how she pulled it off. It just couldn’t have been a more perfect morning of love.
Congratulations guys, I’m definitely looking forward to your wedding.
*Which isn’t something I was sad about, it’s something I fully expected. I just figured it would take longer than that.
All photos © 2012 Amanda Summerlin