Winter Desert Weekend, Part 2

The next morning by the time Kelly and I got out of bed, the boys had headed out to take some sunrise photos. To stay warm in the morning chill we walked around the desert near the campground.

Whitehouse Campground

Whitehouse Campground

Whitehouse campground

Eventually we headed back to camp just as the boys were returning. They’d hiked up a trail to the “Toadstools” and insisted that we check them out as we headed out of town. We said our goodbyes since they were headed back to SLC via Zion and we were continuing the desert adventure.

I’m so glad we took their advice. It was less than a mile up to the toadstools and it’s always fun to see unique desert formations:

Toadstools, Kanab, Utah

Toadstools Trail

Toadstools Trail

Toadstools Trail

Toadstools Trail

As we approached Kayenta, we stopped at a flea market where I could not resist an Indian taco. I’d been craving one for weeks and I intended to make the most of the trip through the reservation:

Navajo Taco

From Kayenta, we cut north on US-163 through Monument Valley. We stopped to take a picture of this goat and then the following rez dog did NOT want to let us get going again.

Rez Dog

Seriously, we played the “He’s in front of the car. … He’s next to the window! Go! Go! … Oh wait, he’s in front again” game for a long time. SO MUCH LAUGHTER.

Goat

We continued north through Mexican Hat and headed on to Goosenecks State Park. We enjoyed a nice walk along the canyon rim before heading out for free camping on BLM land adjacent to the State Park. I’ve camped at the park before and it can be spectacular but I didn’t feel like paying the $10 and as it turned out we found a spot that was also super amazing as you will see.

Sprocket at Goosenecks

Goosenecks Selfie, Beth

Goosenecks State Park

Here is our campsite for the night. It wasn’t the edge of the canyon but the sunset on the mesa behind camp combined with the silhouettes of Monument Valley in the distance were really tough to beat—especially for free.

Mule Point

Mule Point

Teton Sports

Sprocket and Monument Valley

We tried to sit on the tailgate of the car with our beers but it was too cold so Kelly and I retreated to the front seats of her car to escape the cold, shared a few beers and talked for a long time about anything and everything. Finally, Sprocket and I headed to bed. I was too cozy in my TurboDown to share so I gave him my Millenium Blur. He was happier about it than he looks. I promise.

Sprocket in Millenium Flash jacket

The Long Haul South

Wednesday, Forrest picked me up from work and we hit the open road. After all of our planning it was a pretty surreal feeling to be leaving for real. Along the familiar road to Missoula, we even had a rainbow shine on our departure:

After a nice evening with Glen and Terry, we got up early and headed for Salt Lake. Between Butte and Idaho Falls, the temperature dipped as low as 12°F, reminding us how excited we were to be heading south.

After a long days drive, we arrived at Meghan and Eric’s house in Salt Lake City. And this time early enough in the evening to meet Zoe and relax over a couple of beers.

In the morning, after a coffee, we continued south to Moab. The sunshine felt so good! We reassembled the adventure train and then attended Robin’s school play. In the morning, it was time to get back on the road.

Although we’re really promising ourselves that we’ll move slower and travel less miles in any given day, we were on a time schedule to get to Maryanne and Seth’s rehearsal dinner. Despite the long day’s drive, we were able to snag some pictures of Sprocket crossing into his 32nd state, have some fry bread in Kayenta, and also make it to the rehearsal BBQ.