Rocks Gone Wild! Excessive pictures of attractive geology

Where: enjoying a last couple weeks of vacation before we start our summer job. Current Stop: Southeast Utah

I didn’t realize this was what I was doing when I planned our route to get to the resort, but we’re on a fascinating tour through the funky things that rocks can do. In the last week, we’ve gone from Northwestern New Mexico to Southeastern Utah, and we stopped at some amazing places where the earth has gone through about a million permutations. But, those same gorgeous rocks also cause us lots of problems when we try to get internet service, and we generally don’t have much service out in the boonies. We have an awesome booster on a flagpole mounted on the RV, and when we stick it all the way up in a lot of these places, we often get at least a little something, like the ability to text. However, we don’t generally get enough service to do things like load blog posts, which is my official explanation for the amount of time since my last post!

Last week, we spent Tuesday in Las Cruces, NM, getting the ordered parts installed for the RV leveling system. As soon as the appointment was over, we headed north to finally start our trek towards California. We had planned a different route, but the parts took so long to arrive that we had to change our plans and condense our travels. (So, you do not get to read my account of a trip to yes-it’s-a-real-name Pie Town, NM, for multiple pieces of delicious homemade pie. Tragic.) Our first stop was the lunar landscape of Bisti Badlands, south of Farmington, NM.

Bisti is a crazy spot where the wind and water has weathered the rocks into alien shapes, but many of the features are hidden from the casual explorer. I found a detailed hiking guide online, written by a regular guy who just loves the area. With his handy guide, we were able to pick our way through 6 miles of rough country with no trails, and we did not die or get lost!

Little petrified wood:

Big petrified wood:

This is called the Alien Eggs, or the Nursery:

Many of the formations have a stronger layer up top that’s resisting erosion, and form shelves or wings:

Fashion goes out the window in a sandstorm:

On Friday morning, I heard what I thought was light rain when we woke up in the trailhead parking lot, but as it got light, we realized it was snow. The clay-filled mud was like a swamp of sadness for shoes and tires, and we knew we needed to move along to a more solid surface. We drove northwest, entering a little corner of Arizona before we crossed the border into Utah.

Here’s the thing about Utah: it’s just not fair that it has so many gorgeous colors and landscapes! Right across the border, we were into a riot of oranges and pinks and soaring cliffs and deep canyons. The side of the road would qualify as a national park if it were in Ohio! We went just west of Bluff, Utah, to the boondocking mecca of Valley of the Gods. This stop is one that’s both touted as the best, and kind of whispered about; see, it’s such a fantastic place to camp that everyone kind of wants to keep it a secret. It’s basically a slighter smaller version of Monument Valley, but without the crowds, and it’s BLM, so you can camp there for free!

We think the formation at our site looks like Hogwart’s sorting hat:

Adventure cat went bouldering:

We had both a busy and restful 6 days there. We took a daytrip to Moab to visit two people we knew who were both there on the same day!

Becky of Interstellar Orchard:

Anne Richards and her family.  I worked with Anne at the Grandview Library, and her daugher, Allie (right next to me) is traveling with her husband in this converted ambulance:

The country around Valley of the Gods is chock full of adventures. We hiked the steep Honaker Trail through a mini Grand Canyon to the San Juan River, and went to Goosenecks State Park to see the the entrenched river meander, where the waterway folds back and forth on itself.

We did the scenic drive through Valley of the Gods, and drove up the hair-raising Moki Dugway, which is 3 miles of 11% grades of gravel road. At the top, we stood on the edge of Muley Point and saw everything we had visited in the previous days.

Moki Dugway, not for the faint of stomach:

We were sad to leave such an awesome area, but more adventure awaits!  Next, we will thread our way through the middle of Utah and visit a National Monument and a National Park on our way. I will probably have way too many pictures for next time, too!