We hit the road from Rocky Mountain National Park down US40 towards Dinosaur, Colorado. Up we went to the thriving ski-town of Steamboat Springs, and through a 57mi stretch of desolate rolling hills with nary a house, town, or building. At last we arrived in the no-stoplight town of Dinosaur , Colorado. It served as the gas stop, liquor store and post office for the East entrance to Dinosaur National Monument.This end of the Park was all canyonland, and it just happened that Cate had a lead on a wonderful campsite at the lip of Stuntz Ridge. It was 45 minutes from the main road, but the view ended up being worth the drive. We camped about 50 feet from the edge, which dropped two thousand-six hundred feet to the valley floor, looking south over various interesting folds and wrinkles in the landscape. We were totally alone, never saw a soul the entire time we were there…except for cows.
That evening the clouds grew ominous. Sheets of Rain could be seen floating by, miles away over the valley. It wasn’t long before peals of lightning lit up the darkening sky. As the sun set we set up our iPhones looking out over the cliff and used a great app called ilightningcam to get some great shots. The wind howled most of the night but the sunrise was phenomenal.
The following morning was a park day! After Cate fed the cows We followed the road around the east end of the DNM and stopped at the different overlooks. We met a nice couple from NC doing what we were doing last year. Looking for a relocation location! They had no camper, but instead had a sweet tricked out Jeep Liberty complete with Rooftop Solar. The have a blog called travelisliberty.
With the east side done before noon, we headed 30 miles up 40 to Jensen, Utah to go to the Dinosaur National Monument quarry visitor center. Incredible wall of exposed bones inside of a building. Phenomenal!
Thoroughly blown away, we dove to a different spot in the park and saw Bighorn Sheep hanging out by the water, more of Frankie’s hooved bretheren. We hiked a section of River trail (which allows pets). The animals started to get tired and we were forced to return. Beatiful rock formations lined the far side of the Green River.
Finally the day was drawing to a close and we picked up groceries and headed back to our cliffside abode to grill up some fish and watch the sunset.
Morning again, and time to pack it up. As usual, stowing loose items, packing up grill, bike, generator, doing the hitching ritual, animal loading….and away we go. Suddenly a blog follower suggests something in our immediate vicinity. (Thanks Mike) A small place called Fantasy Canyon. We changed direction and headed south for about 40 miles going through weird gasfields with pipelines snaking in and out and around strange mud mounds. Wild horses were scattered around. After slowly negotiating the washboard-laden roads, trying to keep from scrambling the egg which is traytray, we arrived! Fantasy Canyon, a ten acre BLM parcel surrounded by gas fields….is small but rife with amazing geology. The word Canyon makes it seem larger than it is, but it is no less impressive. Incredible sandstone formations with strange shapes flanked the walls, and met us around every turn of the trail. Nature’s Gaudi…Otherworldly. It really only took about 30 minutes to see everything. Would have loved to stick around and look for petrified wood or dino bones that were purported to be in abundance, but we still had some ground to cover….and that sun was hot! Onward we drove over the undulating road and up and through the majestic Wasatch Mountains. Down to Provo and on around Utah Lake. We stopped down a lakeside road at the Knolls and Miners Canyon. Hello Salt Lake City!