Friday, September 23, 2016

Flaming Gorge: Red Rock and Green River

 

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On Monday we drove 250 miles from Grand Teton National Park to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area near Dutch John, Utah. We don’t normally drive that far in a day, but there just really isn’t any place to stop in between, although it’s a lovely drive. Many of the forest service campgrounds are closed for the season, so the closest one open that we came to was Dripping Spring, just a few miles from the Flaming Gorge Dam. Due to a fire here many years ago, our first impression was that we’d spend the night and find something better the next day. As it turns out, we spent four nights. It kind of grew on us, and there have only been a few other RVs here so it’s been very quiet.

The entrance wasn’t too appealing with all the dead trees still standing.

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But we liked our site with the surrounding rabbit brush in bloom.

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We are still fighting colds, but on Tuesday we drove down to the dam and Red Canyon see if we felt up for a short hike. Unfortunately there was a controlled burn going on near the canyon so the air was hazy and the views not so great, but it was nice being back in red rock country.

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We walked the rim trail for a mile, which was about the extent of our energy levels.

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Flaming Gorge Dam. Here’s a bit of history from the Forest Service website:

Flaming Gorge Reservoir was created in 1962 with the completion of the Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River by the Bureau of Reclamation. At 502 feet tall, the dam is part of the Colorado River Storage Project, and provides water storage,
hydroelectricity, and recreation. There are three generating
units in the Flaming Gorge Power Plant, which produce enough
energy annually to serve about 50,000 households.

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And reservoir.

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We were feeling better on Tuesday so decided to go for a hike on the Little Hole Trail. We were here in 2010 at a different campground and hiked several miles of the trail right along the Green River across from the dam, but this time we were closer to the other end of the trail, just a couple miles past the campground at the Little Hole boat launch area, so we started there. Apparently although we started at the trailhead sign, we didn’t realize the trail continued past the boat launch so we actually hiked away from the dam and missed the trail right along the river.

Looking back through the dead trees to our starting point by the boat launch.

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Although most of our hike was not by the river we still enjoyed the scenery.

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When we saw this we decided to keep going.

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It was 1.75 miles until we got down to the river.

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One of several river campsites we passed.

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It was so peaceful. Wish we could have gotten out on the water.

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We only saw this one boat of fly fishermen.

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It rained all day and night yesterday but luckily the predicted heavy winds and severe thunderstorms missed us. I did a little cooking and cleaning, while Jim did some sorting and scanning of papers that somehow continuously pile up. Today we’re moving on to Dinosaur National Monument.

Parting shots of our ever-changing view.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

More from Grand Teton

 

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We definitely got our fill of moose in Grand Teton National Park, seeing at least one almost every day either in the campground or along the Gros Ventre River. Or along Moose-Wilson Rd, like this one.

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The crowd was a dead giveaway that wildlife was present.

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These two got comfy right behind some campsites and hung around all day.

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Maybe they were enjoying the view.

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I walked down there later that evening to see if they had moved and they were still lying down. Just as I was about to give up, the cow stood up, followed a few minutes later by the bull.

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I think he was ready to head back down to the river, but she was just standing there eating grass.

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After a little nudge from behind she started walking with him following.

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They passed very close to this car, where a family was standing. The ranger kept yelling at them to get in the car, but they just stood there taking pictures.

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Maybe people with turquoise hair are deaf? Luckily they did no harm and just walked through the campground back towards the river.

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We also got caught in a bison jam, although nothing to compare to the ones in Yellowstone. They were busy drinking out of the mud puddles on Mormon Row and did not want to move. We and the car in the lead coming towards us kept inching forward and they finally decided to get out of the road. I don’t think our Subaru would be a match for one of these guys.

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Robin and Lydia, our friends from Ridgecrest, CA, stopped by for a couple of nights after getting six inches of snow in Yellowstone the day they left. They have our identical twin Lazy Daze. It’s always a pleasure visiting with them and their dogs.

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One afternoon we went to visit friends Ron and Jane, who sold their house in Cave Creek, AZ and are living year-round in a condo just outside of Jackson. They tried to convince us to come and visit them in the winter, but we’ll have to think long and hard about that!

Jane volunteers at the beautiful Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, and we went for a hike there to Phelps Lake.

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No foxes, just a few mule deer.

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One day we took a longer drive north through the park for a hike at Two ocean Lake. There were lots of bear warning signs but this was all we found.

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We did get to see plenty of fall foliage.

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It’s 6.4 miles around the lake with some ups and downs, but probably one of the more level hikes in the park. According to Wikipedia, “Two Ocean Lake, in the northeastern portion of the park near Moran, was named for Two Ocean Pass about 25 miles to the northeast where Atlantic Creek flows east and Pacific Creek flows west. Two Ocean Lake only flows into Pacific Creek so the name is a misnomer.”

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Our big wildlife sighting, but we can’t identify it. It was very small so Jim urged it off the trail to keep from getting stepped on.

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A few more photos from around the park. This is from the Jenny Lake overlook.

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There are several glaciers left in the Tetons but they are shrinking every year.

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From the trail behind the campground.

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And from the campground entrance road. This scenery is why we interviewed for a volunteer job with the Grand Teton Association for next summer, although we decided it wasn’t for us.

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We both came down with colds over the weekend, our first in years, so didn’t do much our last few days in the park. We did manage to rescreen 4 windows that the cats had torn up, and replaced the sliding piece on the screen door that Sophie broke while trying to escape. I miss them but it’s nice to be cat-less for a change.

Yesterday we moved on to Flaming Gorge near Dutch John, Utah. Thought it was about time to start heading south.