It was another beautiful sunny day. The temp was 61 upon our rising and it continued to climb all morning. The predicted high is 94 degrees, but breezy. We went about our morning routine and planned our day. Auggie ate his breakfast this morning and within a few minutes he threw it up again. He did that yesterday with his breakfast, but not with yesterday’s dinner. I called the vet to let her know what was going on. She said to give him a little chicken and rice, in small amounts tonight and again tomorrow. Hopefully, that will fix his upset stomach. It that doesn’t help, we’ll have to take him to a vet in town and see what’s going on. He acts perfectly normal otherwise and has no other issues with his bowel movements. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the chicken and rice does the trick. My poor little Auggie. He will sleep while we are gone for a few hours on our drive today and hopefully feel better. We packed a lunch to take along and left for a visit in Canyonlands National Park. It is about 20 miles north of the campground on Highway 191 and across the Colorado River.
The highway takes you past Arches National Park. From the highway, we could see the long line-up of cars waiting to enter. Arches has just started the timed entry program for the summer season this year.
The road cut through the canyon and out into the flats.
Right at the intersection of Highway 191 and 313, the road to the Canyonlands, there is this dinosaur museum–Tracks Museum and Dinosaur Trails.
It has some life-sized dinosaurs standing outside.
We entered the road to Canyonlands and went 22 miles to the entrance to the park. The scenery was beautiful!
The red rock formations were amazing as we climbed from an elevation of 4000 ft. in Moab to over 6100 ft. in Canyonlands
Although we had visited Canyonlands 2 years ago, it is a lesser-used park than Arches, so we thought that today being Friday of the Memorial Day weekend, it would be a less crowded day to visit than on the weekend. We encountered some cowboys rounding up their cattle. We had seen some signs telling us that this was open range and to watch out for cattle. We drove slowly by.
The cows got nervous and started running across the road behind us. The cowboys scrambled to round them up and get them off the road.
We entered the park within a mile or two after seeing the cows.
We stopped at the fee station to show our Lifetime Senior Pass. There were only 3 or 4 cars ahead of us which was a good sign. We got a map and were on our way.
It’s a long drive into the park to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center. The Visitor Center was very busy, but we were lucky and found a parking space.
Island in the Sky is a section of the park between two rivers. The Colorado and Green Rivers wind through Canyonland cutting through the layers of sandstone to form 2 deep canyons. Green River flows through the canyon on the east side of Island in the Sky and the Colorado River flows through the park on the west side. Where the two rivers meet is called The Convergence, which is located at the southern end of the Island in the Sky area. We walked across the road from the parking lot to a path which took us to the Shafer Canyon Overlook. We could see the Shafer Trail Road below us.
The views of Shafer Trail Road in the canyon take my breath away.
We had tremendous views from the top of the canyon rim.
A really nice young family offered to take our picture. We jumped at the opportunity! That’s as close as I could get Bob to go near the edge.
Shafer Trail is not for the faint of heart. It is 5.3 miles of narrow switchbacks and shelf roads. From the top of the canyon, we could see a few brave drivers in cars, motorcycles, and some crazy bicyclists. Some were going down and some were coming up.
Once you get down into the canyon on Shafer Trail, it connects with White Rim Trail (some people call it White Knuckle Trail because you’re holding onto the steering wheel with white knuckles after making the descent on Shafer Trail.) White Rim Trail is 100 miles long in its entirety. It loops around and below the Mesa top and takes 2-3 days by a 4-wheel drive vehicle to go the entire way. Many people go partway down and then back up.
(When we were here in 2020, we found a way to drive down in the basin by entering on Highway 279 which took us along the Colorado River on Potash Road. We drove in the basin to Thelma and Louise Point where the famous ladies drove their car off the cliff into the river below. If we would have continued driving in the basin that day, we would have eventually connected with Shafer Trail Road passing over a narrow ledge and onto the narrow switchbacks which would take us up to the canyon rim. That was not for us, but we can at least say that we were down below in the canyon and up on the rim.) Back on Highway 313 heading out of the park, we came across the entrance to Shafer Trail Road.
We had wanted to see what the very beginning of Shafer Trail Road was like, so we drove in. It didn’t seem very intimidating at all.
The beginning part was paved and then it switched to dirt. We stopped when we thought that we didn’t want to go any further. I got out and walked ahead to discover a parking lot just below us, so we hopped back in and went down there to see what we could see.
From there, we walked a very short distance to the rim. From this vantage point, we got a better, more inclusive view of the Shafer Trail Road switchbacks and shelf roads that make everyone nervous just looking at them.
We marveled at the view and the brave souls driving below us.
From the parking lot, we noticed this sign. From this point on, the road gets scary as it winds its way down to the bottom of the canyon. This is where we draw the line. We would go no further.
We left there and were planning to visit Dead Horse Point State Park, but upon arriving, we remembered that we had already visited there on our last trip, so we decided to skip it.
We turned around and decided to check out Long Canyon Road instead which is just down the road a few miles. We had researched it this morning and we were undecided as to whether or not we wanted to drive on it. We passed more loose cows roaming freely. They barely looked at us as we drove slowly by.
Long Canyon Road is an unpaved 2-wheel drive road for part of the way to Pucker Pass. We followed a couple of cars down the dusty, washerboard road.
We watched to see where this guy ahead of us in the Jeep was going. We followed him a ways and then parked the Jeep.
We walked down the road to see what was up ahead. Yep, there was a hairpin turn just up ahead and the sign gave us a clue as to what to expect.
This is where our GPS showed us we were.
Here at Pucker Pass, the road makes a steep turn descending to Long Canyon below and then becomes a 4-wheel drive dirt road. From here, we could see down this very long, narrow canyon but there was no sign of the road. No matter where we stood, we could not see the road below. The canyon was too deep and narrow.
From up there, we had a good view of the valley even with the hazy skies today.
We were happy about our decision not to go any further. We’ll have to do more research on it. We headed back on the washerboard road and found a spot to pull off and eat our lunch. We noticed that there was fencing around the area and many signs designating the area as Desert Bighorn Sheep habitat. That would have been cool to see one.
From there, we made our way back, enjoying the beautiful scenery on our drive out of the Canyonlands.
Highway 191 took us back through the canyon and over the Colorado River towards town.
We got back to the campground around 2:00 and sat outside with Auggie. It was 93 degrees by now, but nice and breezy. We had our leftover Navajo tacos for dinner and they were just as good the second day. We walked Auggie and came back to the bus to watch a little TV. He seemed fine on our walk, so he got a small portion of the chicken and rice we made. After an hour, we gave him a little more and an hour later, a little more. He seemed to keep everything down without a problem. We’ll do the same tomorrow and hope that does the trick. Dark clouds moved in as the sun was setting and it looked like we might some rain overnight.