There are so many beautiful places to see in this little corner of Utah, it's a challenge to figure out which ones to choose. Flaming Gorge is on my list, and our neighbor tells Bill that Sheep Creek Geological Loop, in the same area, is a must-do. So Saturday we head north on Highway 191.
We make a couple stops along the way to take in the pretty views and play in the red dirt. Soon we're on Highway 44 and into Ashley National Forest.
|Layers continue to erode, exposing new color beneath.|
|I find this big brain along the highway - and that big rock behind him :-)|
|Mesquite and old fences.|
|Cart Creek Meadow|
|Lots of places to come back and explore another day.|
|Small Aspen groves get an early start on Fall colors.|
In Malta, ten miles from the Wyoming border, we grab lunch at Browning's, the only eatery in town. Might be the only public place in town. Then we return to Flaming Gorge Reservoir, hoping to catch the afternoon color.
|Red, white and blue.|
|7 miles of washboard dirt road take us to the viewpoint at Dowd Mountain - worth every shake and rattle.|
|A hidden finger of water.|
|The viewpoint itself is lovely.|
|These signs line Highway 191 - no place to stop to catch my favorite "Stegosaurus roamed here."|
|Red Fleet Lake State Park|
|The three red "ships" that give the lake its name.|
|With our focus on several games at once, the diligent guard dog keeps on eye on the dangerous kitty cat next door.|
Mike is a great guy who immediately hooks up the computer. Of course no active fault :-(. He assures us he'll continue to work on it, and we head out for breakfast.
And coffee - I'm never up this early!
Sue recommended we visit Fantasy Canyon southwest of town. Sounds like our kind of place - weird and not well known.
Much of the drive is through active oil fields, small hills of scrub brush, and open range with lots of cattle. Hard to imagine a natural wonder existing out here.
But even from the dirt parking lot we can see a naturally wonderful place. We explore for over an hour, looking for the shapes named and identified with small markers, and pointing out our own favorites. We have the whole place to ourselves. Tessa even gets in some zoomies among the formations on the trail.
|Sandstone, siltstone and shale deposited and hardened 38-50 million years ago along what was then a 150 acre lake, over a half mile deep.|
|Penguins and bud vases|
|Ghosts and gargoyles|
|Some crevices are deeper than the naked eye can see.|
|Tessa thinks this new playground is great!|
|Looking like sand, the formations are very hard.|
|Free standing art pieces along the trail.|
|Can't we stay and play all day?|
|This lone young buck takes his time crossing the road.|
|I wait for him to cross, then approach slowly while he just watches us drive by. Handsome guy.|
|Near the Green River we see this small herd.|
|Over 50 in this herd! Alfalfa farmer probably doesn't think they're so pretty.|
|All are about the same age and move in tight formation through the field.|
I've mentioned before how much I love small towns and the people who live and work in them. We do hear back before we leave - warranty covered everything, nothing to pay. Emailed zero balance invoice. If you need work on your Cummins engine when you're in the area - go see Mike and Jessica!
Next we return to Dinosaur National Monument for two more amazing days of exploration.