One of the things I love most about being on the road with the Teardrop in tow is that I have no destination, no direction in mind. I can go anywhere on any whim. In Utah, land of little internet, I’ve been getting off beat travel tips the old fashioned way: by talking to people. Two days ago, camped on free public land near the Glen Canyon dam, I got a tip from a master: Edward Abbey.
Reading the Down the River chapter of Desert Solitaire, in which Ed and a friend float through Glen Canyon’s doomed paradise, weeks before it was flooded to create Lake Powell, Abbey mentions glimpsing a “weird” geologic wonder to the west: the Waterpocket Fold.
“Sure to be, someday, another National Park, complete with police, administrators, paved highways, automobile nature trails, official scenic viewpoints, designated campgrounds, laundromats, cafeterias, Coke machines, flush toilets and admission fees,” he wrote, “If you wish to see it as it should be seen, don’t wait– there’s little time. How do you get there? Well, I couldn’t tell you.”
Ed was right about most things, including this. Looking up Waterpocket Fold in my handy guide “Hiking the Southwest’s Geology: Four Corners Region” I find that it’s now part of Capitol Reef National Park. A detour is in order.
The next morning, I drove to the visitor center and asked the park ranger on duty the best way to see the Waterpocket Fold. He listed a few nearby viewpoints and then said, “If you want a real adventure and the best possible view, you’re going to want to head down to Cedar Mesa.”
I asked a bunch of questions about the road – graded gravel – and the best approach with a travel trailer. He suggested I leave the trailer 20 miles in at a backcountry campsite, drive the next 30 miles, park before the ruts get truly rugged and hike the last 4 miles to the Strike Valley overlook. Sounds like a plan to me!
Nice entry with great photos. I miss the desert, need to plan a trip to Big Bend soon.
Thanks for sharing.
I haven’t been to Big Bend yet! It’s on my list. That and Guadalupe!
Great photography, wish I was there:)
Love your blog.
Awesome! This is exactly the type of trip I crave. I am very jealous of the teardrop 🙂 Your piçs and choice of authors are top notch, great post!
I would love to do this type of traveling! What a fantastic way to see the U.S. Thanks for sharing your adventures! 🙂
Has the trailer been officially christened?
I think so! The Raven & the Rattler 🙂
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Ok…I get why you named the car, the raven…but why is the teardrop named the rattler? It doesn’t look like a rattlesnake. Did you find a rattlesnake inside or under it? Does it rattle a lot when you drive? lol! I bet I’m not the only one who wants to know more. hehe!
Cool photos. Reminds me of the Devil’s Backbone out here in eastern New Mexico.
Yep, it rattles a bit, especially on dirt roads, though it’s generally a dream to tow. The name comes in part from finding that rattlesnake in my house in New Mexico; it was the catalyst to getting my own snake-free place and getting out of New Mexico before snake season really heated up!
Aha! It all makes sense now. lol! Well good for you. I know how fun and exciting it is to be on the road traveling, but there is much to be said for being able to come home and be surrounded by all your own familiar things in that place we all call home. And you have the best of both worlds…you can take your home with you 🙂 And be snake-free! ;-D
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