AT OLW Ongoing Travel Log [Pic Heavy]

at_olw

Observer
Hello,

I've found trip reports to be a great resource for trip planning, so I figure I may as well create my own. I'm not sure yet if / when I'm going to add previous trips. I just got on flickr and haven't migrated old photos over yet. I also wasn't sure where best to post this thread, as my trips tend to be either ~2 weeks or a long weekend. Most recent one was closer to 2, so I figure I may as well post here. Feel free to advise if it should be moved. I'm still getting used to this forum.

In any rate - on to the pictures!

Utah / Death Valley - April 2015
Mojave Road - May 2015
Eastern Sierra - June 2015
 
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at_olw

Observer
Here are some pictures from a recent trip out to Utah, and Death Valley. The idea was to make it up to Moab to meet up with a good friend from college. That didn't work out, but more on that in a minute.

Moab is a healthy distance from my house. Too far to drive in a day, really. So, I broke up the drive, by camping the first night on the Mojave trail. Sunrise the next morning:

2015-04-16-UT_DV-002 copy by at olw, on Flickr

The goal was to make it to Labrynth on White Rim, so I had some distance to cover. These days I'm less and less inclined to drive that much pavement, without at least some fun along the way. Knowing there was a water crossing near this campsite, I took a longway back to the pavement.

The first of two:

2015-04-16-UT_DV-008 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Cleanest my truck's been in a long time!

2015-04-16-UT_DV-006 copy by at olw, on Flickr

I moseyed along Mojave Road.

2015-04-16-UT_DV-014 copy by at olw, on Flickr

I stopped here for breakfast. Nice spot.

2015-04-16-UT_DV-012 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Spent some more time exploring the trail, and eventually realized it was time to continuing heading west.
 

at_olw

Observer
Turns out there was a [snow] storm moving eastward through Utah. Having spent most of my life living in coastal California, this made the drive nerve-wracking. Driving over icy passes (there was even a snowplow going!) with mud terrains is not a whole lot of fun. Minus the two snow plows I saw (going the other direction), apparently I was the only one crazy enough to be on the road.

Past the storm (for now) after the passes:

2015-04-16-UT_DV-021 copy by at olw, on Flickr

And the views were spectacular, once the elevation was over:

2015-04-16-UT_DV-033 copy by at olw, on Flickr


2015-04-16-UT_DV-035 copy by at olw, on Flickr


2015-04-16-UT_DV-040 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Quite a difference experience from the last time I'd been here (in June/July)

2015-04-16-UT_DV-042 copy by at olw, on Flickr
 

at_olw

Observer
Eventually I made it to canyon lands. I had done white rim the year prior, so I didn't really feel the need to run it again, when there are so many other places I haven't had a chance to explore near Moab. The reason I bring this up: I didn't top up off on the way to labrynth. In any rate, the idea was to just camp at labrythn with my buddy (Tacoma) and his friend (dirtbike), who were coming from CO and running the trail that morning. Then head out together and do some stuff around moab. But things didn't go according to plan.

As those of you who've done white rim know – there's a BLM road that gets you out to white rim proper (and labrynth). It also happens to be quite fun for “spirited” driving, but I digress. On the way in, I stumbled upon two dirtbikers on that road. One had run out of a fuel, so out went my Jerry can, and after filling him up, off our separate ways we went.

By the time I had descended the switchbacks and made it to labrynth, it was sometime around 7-7:30. Well past when I normally eat dinner, and I was beat from a day of pavement pounding. My friends were supposed to make it to camp by 3-4 or so. Only, I arrived to a very desolate labrynth.

I hang out there for a couple minutes, and figured I'd continue along the trail, in hopes to find them behind schedule, heading towards camp. The weather was pretty ****ty, and I was worried something bad has happened. After checking in at the other campsites, and driving about a third of the trail, I finally ran into a guy who said he'd seem them at the start of the day and said that the one on the bike had broke, and was pushing it along the trail. He was able to confirm that no one was hurt, which was my bigger concern. He also said that a forest service truck was not far behind them on the trial, and heading towards them.

At that point I didn't know what to think. My friend had a truck, so I couldn't figure out why they didn't just throw the bike in his truck if it broke. And if the bike ended up in the FS truck and they bailed, then why hadn't I heard from them?

My gut was telling me to continue along and try to find them. The guy I ran into suggested not to. And he was right. It was nearly dark, I was exhausted, it was drizzling, I wasn't sure if they were even still on white rim, running the whole trail was going to be cutting it close on fuel, and the campsite reservation was for labrynth. If they were still at the start of the trail, then I certainly didn't have enough fuel to make it back to labrynth that night. So, I headed back to camp, with the optimistic hope that I'd done the right thing, they were fine, and going to show up to camp at any minute, where I'd have cold beer waiting from them.

It was a cold, lonely night on labrynth. And the storm I'd driven through earlier that day came through later that night.

The eerie fog, the next morning.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-047 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Beauty amidst a somber mood

2015-04-17-UT_DV-004 copy by at olw, on Flickr

With zero comms and not enough fuel to run the trail, I figured the best approach was to head to Moab, fuel up, and reassess.

Evidence of the storm the night before.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-009 copy by at olw, on Flickr

That same BLM road.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-005 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Along the way to Moab.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-011 copy by at olw, on Flickr

After fueling up, grabbing groceries and countless calls-straight-voicemail I figured it was time to check in with the rangers, and see if they'd heard anything (like from the alleged truck behind them on the trail). No one had, but they were nice enough to radio down to the ranger down there, and have him check it out. I eventually got word the ranger had seem them towards the end of the trail that morning, and they were moving along just fine.

A sigh of serious relief. And a big thank you to the FS for taking the time to look into it, and getting back to me. As I learned later the issue was exhaustion (coupled with getting snowed on), and nothing mechanical with the bike. They bum'd a campsite with a school trip who fed them tacos. So, they were doing just fine.
 
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at_olw

Observer
I'd had enough of the rain and ****ty weather. I headed west.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-016 copy by at olw, on Flickr


2015-04-17-UT_DV-023 copy by at olw, on Flickr

I ended up at Capitol Reef. For whatever reason I didn't take that many photographs. But here are some petroglyphs.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-030 copy by at olw, on Flickr


2015-04-17-UT_DV-035 copy by at olw, on Flickr

A fence and entrance fee aren't always needed to find cool hoodoo's.

2015-04-17-UT_DV-040 copy by at olw, on Flickr

I ended up camping at Cedar Mesa. Nice enough spot. Crashed a campsite with some friendly fellow travelers, who shared some of my other interests (ultralight backpacking), which was pretty cool. The folks at the other sites were all pretty friendly too. Nice when that happens.
 

at_olw

Observer
Hiking around the slot canyons took a large portion of the day, but we did make it to some of the other areas. Like the Dance Hall

2015-04-19-UT_DV-298 copy by at olw, on Flickr

We also checked out the dino tracks. I thought they were super lame. I didn't take any pictures. My opinion may be the minority, though.

We camped on Left Hand Collet rd.

2015-04-20-UT_DV-328 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Which had a fairly epic view.

2015-04-20-UT_DV-331 copy by at olw, on Flickr
 

at_olw

Observer
The next day we started on Left Hand Collet. We had heard some crazy stories about it being washed out, and “impassible.” Only one way to find out, right?

Not sure what that was about. Could have driven a prius. But who cares about that? It was scenic.

2015-04-20-UT_DV-336 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Hopefully the “big one” doesn't hit….

2015-04-20-UT_DV-343 copy by at olw, on Flickr

Flowering cactus.

2015-04-20-UT_DV-346 copy by at olw, on Flickr

The wondering road.

2015-04-20-UT_DV-349 copy by at olw, on Flickr
 
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