Back up over the Mountains

To finish our big Rocky Mountain Camper Road Trip, we headed back up over the mountains and found the source of the Colorado River.

We spent a nice long weekend visiting Avi’s friend Cason. Military kids move around, but these guys were besties so we’ve made a point to stay in touch. But, Nebraska is a bit off the “Rocky Mountain” path, so we beelined it to our reservation at Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. Yeah. It was a long drive! We still had time to enjoy a nice walk, well the kids used their scooters, around the area before heading to bed.

After breakfast the next morning we began our whole-day adventure crossing over the mountains’ high point on route 34. This route is gorgeous and begins in the pine tree forests before getting so high in elevation that its well above the tree line. We spent time at all the pull outs, sometimes taking pictures and sometimes going for a hike. The day was super sunny and we were all happy to be back in the mountains. On the other side, we took a long hike and stopped for a picnic lunch at Holzworth historic site.

Campgrounds after that were full, and the kids wanted to press on home, so we drove out of the National park and onto I-70 which had only just reopened after a fire crossed over. In fact, we could still see the fire for most of the drive into Utah. It was a few hours until we crossed into the Beehive state and made our way to the BLM land.

Our goal for the night became the North Klondike campground near the Copper Ridge Dino Tracks. First we went to see the dinosaur tracks! These Jurassic era tracks are incredible. And we hit them at just the perfect time with the sun low enough in the sky to really see the shadows! Camping nearby was insanely quiet and the stars were amazing.

The next day we visited another site at the Mill Canyon track site, and then biked to the Mill Canyon dinosaur trail. This place was super cool as there are still dino fossils in situ in the rock! The kids weren’t too pleased about the bike ride as there was a large section of super sandy wash, and it was getting hot. But the fossils made it all ok.

We spent a hot afternoon at Arches National Park. They found delicate arch to be less than interesting, but then we all loved our hike and exploration time at the Sand Dune arch area. There was plenty of shade and super soft sand to wander barefoot in! From there we continued up the road to Skyline arch which turned out to be another great hike. It was pretty exposed at first, but the closer we got to the arch, the more shade there was.

In Moab we stopped – our second ‘restaurant’ of the trip – at a Subway to get some sustenance (take out, of course, because of coronavirus measures) and figure out our final plans. I had wanted to take the kids to see Canyonlands NP and newspaper rock and maybe spend another day or two in Utah’s canyon country, but they were done. We started our trip at Lake Powell and came up via Bryce, so they had plenty of red rock under their belts and we’d been on the road for weeks. In the end, it was decided that we’d just go home. So, we drove and I figured I’d stop at one of the forest service campsites or free pull outs off the road north of Flagstaff. Well, there were fires! It was all closed, and that was too scary to mess with. I ended up just pulling over at the first rest stop south of Flag for the night, and then we made it home to Tucson the next day.

Leave a Reply