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Thursday, March 31, 2011

From the cliff to the valley

After we all climbed to the "Top of the World" and peered down into the valley below, I rode back to our campsite via a scenic route that wended along the base of Entrada cliffs of shiny pink sandstone.
The swooping curves of the cliffs towered over me for the entire ride.
Eventually, after descending into a canyon and climbing out, I recognized the rock formation that our campsite sat beside.
I found a pleasantly tired Duo, sleeping soundly on the hard rock. Notice that we'd placed soft mats out for their comfort. Rather than lie on them, K kicked sand all over them and then curled up on the sun-warmed rock next to her brother.
Soon after I arrived back from my ride, we broke camp and headed toward the valley that we'd gazed into from the Top of the World. That valley is in the sun-bathed middle ground of the photo below, punctuated by spiky tall towers. The snowy La Sal Mountains stand behind the valley.
The hiking path curled through a labyrinth of spires.
We perpetually gazed upward, looking at the amazing sculptures created by 300 million years of erosion. Eons ago, this area was a flat plateau of sedimentary rock but water and wind have scraped away the softer rock, leaving behind the harder rock shaped like ghosts and goblins from the past.
The Duo was allowed to hike with us and enjoyed perching on boulders as we hiked.
We could see clear across the Colorado River. Although we were warm in the sun, a ferocious storm had cut loose across the valley.
We finished our hike close to sunset, and the tops of the towers glowed in the falling sunlight.
Just before finishing the hike, K stood in the setting sun with starkly dramatic rock formations behind her in the distance.
Hiking in the valley that we'd viewed from 2500' higher earlier in the day made the circle complete. The red rock world near the Colorado River in Utah is unlike any other place that I've visited. It's stark, harsh, and sharp, yet it glows with warm beauty.

After our hike, we hightailed it to a campsite that we've visited in the past. We climbed out of the van, and K surveyed the scene. She approved.
Several of you have asked about where we camp. We tend to find out-of-the-way corners, not in campgrounds, where we can relax in peace and quiet. Most of the land that we visited on this trip is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It can be accessed via 4WD roads, and our Labmobile is a 4WD high-clearance vehicle retrofitted for camping (it's technically known as a "Sportsmobile"). It's sitting in a typical campsite below with my trusty bike leaned against it.
To me, the sight of our white van sitting in a quiet campsite is nirvana. I do sometimes wish that we could still camp in a tent - but my spine has deteriorated to the point that it needs the "real bed" in the van. And, the Duo LOVES the Labmobile. As soon as the sun sets or hides behind clouds, they start demanding to curl up in the sleeping bags in the Labmobile. I think that you can see where the van's nickname originated!


  1. The last pic sums up the fun had by ALL!

    Thanks for sharing more awesome pictures!

  2. Your part of da country takes my breath away...

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  3. These photos are so beautiful it hurts! I am almost a year out from my injury and finally starting to feel like I can hike and play outside again and I want to jump on a plane and fly to Colorado RIGHT NOW after reading this.

    I love your Labmobile also! I am nervous about sleeping in a tent for the first time since getting hurt, and if it doesn't work out I might have to upgrade my modestly sized subaru to something that will fit a bed! :)


  4. We travel without a tent. Our human spent too much time in tents in places that were not pretty. The area around Moabe and Arches is just magic. Every turn brings another deep breath. The overlook is wonderful, and the canyon is spectacular. Keep on enjoying, the best is yet to come.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  5. Those rock formations are just amazing, AND the skies, AND the mountains. It is so much fun to join you on your escapades - it is as close to doing the same as we will ever get. Phantom is just like the Duo - he would chose the hardwood floor over a soft cushion any day, although it sure looks like R likes his labmobile bed:)

  6. I must be afraid of heights and not know it...your first photo gave me chills. Spectacular views!

  7. Oh thanks, KB! That was like a mini-vacation!

  8. Funny...I know exactly where you were! Mr smrp and I traveled through the same area in January but lucky us (not!) we had 8 degrees F and a bunch of snow! I like your weather pattern much better!

    I love how the pups had no interest in their little fluffy beds yet they cuddle up in deep fluffiness in the labmobile! Heehee!

    Loving seeing pix of your trip-thanks for sharing!

    p.s. you might want to velcro the pups' paws down tonight...they are calling for 70mph winds! yikes!

  9. Ha ha ha! Hubby saw the pictures of your van and I can already see the wheels turning in his head!

    Your pictures are gorgeous, of course, and I can just imagine what a great relaxing time you must have had there! I think the coloring there very much agrees with Miss K. :)

    I love road trips, and always have!

  10. I'm so glad you are back on-line!
    My day isn't complete without a visit to the Mountains!

    thanks for your comment today!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Her-Zness

  11. You are back! Hurray! Those first few pictures are just ridiculously beautiful. I am in awe!

    Your pal, Pip

  12. Gorgeous cliffs and formations
    Benny & Lily

  13. You rasie one of lifes unanswerable mysteries. Why do dogs always lie beside, rarther than on, rugs that are so carefully laid out for them ?

  14. such a beautiful area!! the labraduo look so peaceful all bundled up in bed!!

  15. Quite honestly, I have NEVER seen such breathtaking pictures! What an incredible privilege to have the opportunity of being part of that landscape, KB! How truly amazing! WOW!

  16. Such serenity. I loved every one of those gorgeous photographs.

  17. Awesome photos of weather, red rocks, and even snow! I like that Labmobile, too!

  18. Just like myself, the Duo, know comfort when they see it....the last picture in particular feels so right. Thanks for letting us see this part of the world I've only dreamed about or have seen on Geographic/PBS stations. Will put it on my bucket list. Cheers!

  19. Hi Y'all,

    I like the comfort of my soft rugs unless it's hot and I'm hot or I'm in the kitchen helpin' to cook. :)

    Maybe the rocks were warm and R and K were cold?

    My Human gets dizzy when she gets on a ladder. I think she'll settle for your pictures.

    We are so happy that y'all are back again...hopefully we won't loose y'all again.

    Y'all come by when you can,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  20. We are so fortunate, here in America's SW, to live amidst such amazing splendor. Everytime I think, "we live here" my soul soars with happiness. Thanks for sharing your homeland with us all!

  21. KB
    We do not want to stop looking at your photos. They just make our hearts sing. The beauty,, oh the beauty.
    Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what you saw and felt with your eyes.
    You give us so much.

  22. WOW!! The scenery is breath taking.


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