Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rifle Falls State Park part II

Hi again,
 Two posts in one day wow! Not that we have done so much but in the mountains of Colorado we have almost no signal on our Verizon air card.
  We took a short 5 mile drive to Rifle Falls State Park. Yeah everything around here is called rifle something or other. The story goes a exploration troop was camped by the creek and one of the soldiers left his rifle behind and had to return to get it. There are a few variations to the name story. On another note Rifle, Co is the only town with that name in the U.S.
  Back to Rifle Falls was established as a state park in 1966. Prior to that it was a tourist ranch and once the site of a hydroelectric dam. Today you can camp in the 13 site campground (small rvs only) or use one of the day use picnic areas.

 Today  the triple 70 ft. waterfall is a popular photo shoot because of its lush green area created from the falls constant mist. As one can imagine also a great backdrop for wedding pictures.
The falls is formed over limestone and along both sides of the falls are unique limestone caves. We thought these were pretty cool, almost looking like coral and flow rock. A very amazing place.
 Above the falls you can follow a trail to the Rifle (again) Falls State fish hatchery. In one area along the way there is a natural cascading falls. It serves a valuable purpose as a filter and oxygen enhancer aiding plant and wildlife.
  After the falls we drove a bit further down the road to see the famous ice caves. Oddly this is village controlled and required a special park pass. The road passes through a canyon that is popular with rock climbers. We saw several groups along the way.
 Then we finally get to the famous ice caves. ?? Well not quite what we expected, there was some ice and it was a pretty blue looking from the cave out. Just not quite the thrill of a lifetime.
  Funny how some things you think are going to be great and are just soso then you see something that barely gets a mention and you are in total awe. You just never know.
  On the way home (sounds like a Wendy vacation don't it?) we made a detour to check out one more state park, and one not named rifle.) Harvey Gap State Park is on a 160 acre reservoir and a day use only park. The lake is a beautiful blue/green color and prime northern/muskie fishing. It looked to be a good picnic area but not to much else.
 Friday we planned a hike day, and Wendy had seen trail hat offered a view of a Colorado arch. Can you guess the name? You win--Rifle Arch, down Rifle Arch Trail is 150 feet wide and 60 feet high.
 We walked the 1-1/2 mile hike mostly on a moderate uphill. When we got to the arch Wendy scrambled up some good rocks to get the clear through view.
I wish I had brought my camera as she really got up there. And boy did her legs felt it the next day. The things one must do for the perfect shot. Side note the view then wasn't that great.

Rifle Gap State Park part I

Hi all,
I guess we are trying to make sure life is an adventure. We had moved to Rifle, Co and pulled into Shady Lane RV Park. We thought we would stay here maybe a week as they had a decent rate of $125 a wk. As we pulled in we knew this was a mistake, it looked like a campground where old rvs go to die. Of their dozen or so sites most looked to be permanently placed and a couple units had residential doors somehow affixed.
 Thank goodness they had not taken reservation and money over the phone because there was no way we were going to stay here long. Wendy and I are not the real picky type for a day or two but for a week this wasn't going to cut it. We setup and drove out to the state park to see if we could get in.
 So later that day I told the Shady Lane owner that something came up and we would need to leave in the morning.
 So off to Rifle Gap State Park with a collective sigh of relief. Why we didn't come here right away is Ray trying to be cheap- I know that's hard to believe.) We got the pick of the campground sites and took a site with the lake view out our big window.
 Rifle Gap S.P. is just beautiful Colorado country. About 7 miles north of Rifle it is set along the shore of Rifle Gap Reservoir, a pretty 300 acre lake. The lake is good fishing and a high rec area with scuba diving, wind surfing and skiing popular. The campground features 89 campsites though the bigger loop was not yet open.
  We stopped at a rest area by the Rifle Gap and read a story of a artistic couple who tried to span the gap with a huge orange curtain. The curtain was  put in place by thousands of feet of steel cable. It took two attempts and 28 months to put it up and then was up only 28 hours as 60 mile winds were destroying it. It was 365 feet high and 1250 feet across.
With little to no internet at the campground, we are at the Rifle library and with so much in the area we will divide the post into parts 1 and 2 posting both today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Colorado National Monument

Hi all,
Things should start slowing a bit with our post as we get closer to our summer gig at Custer State Park. We start on May 8, the days seem to be zooming by.
 While we were in Grand Junction Co, we took in Colorado National Monument- woohoo another stamp in Wendy's book.
 Located just west of Grand Junction Colorado National Monument encompasses 32 square miles of canyons and plateaus. It was the foresight of John Otto in 1907 and through his determined efforts became a national monument in 1911.
 He wanted to make the rugged area accessible to the public and worked to create a roadway(Rim Rock Road) up the 2000 foot plateau. Much of the work was done by CCC and was delayed during the war, It was finally complete in 1950.
 The 23 mile road has 23 pull offs for great canyon views. There are also numerous balanced rocks and rock sculptures upon which to marvel.
 We picked a good day for the drive, not to busy and believe we hit 22 of the pull offs. We also did a couple of short hikes to help round out the day.

 The park features a small primitive campground and is popular with bicyclist, though I couldn't imagine riding up the 6% grades. There were some tough looking hiking trails too.
  Saturday we hit a local Arborfest and took part in a chili contest sampling 12 different recipes. They had music and some craft booths also. And we didn't bring a camera.(
 Easter was just a nice cooked meal by Wendy and I shouldn't say we did laundry- see life of a fulltimer isn't all fun n games.
 We left today for Rifle Colorado, we will spend a few days checking out some state parks.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Delicate Arch

Hi all,
Thought I'd sneak in one last post from Moab. This is one place we would have definitely extended our stay but Jeep Week will have none of that. Looks like that is now getting into full swing and will be hopping.
  We made a return trip to Arches National Park. We got a early start (well 9:00 is early for us to be out) to make sure we would get a parking space at the popular Delicate Arch Trail.
 Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in the park and has the notoriety of being on the Utah state quarter.
 You can view this in two places from a distance but we wanted the up and close view. This would require a 3 mile strenuous hike. We figured to just take our time and not get in a rush. The trail starts out meandering along then you hit the slickrock and up you go. The slickrock is a bit of a misnomer- it is only slick when wet.
 We made it and were glad we did. When we arrived I was surprised as the people there were staying back and admiring the view. This also allowed us to get some good pics. Turns out we were lucky as the hordes started arrive to prevent any pictures of the arch without some clowns in your shots. This is the bad part of allowing access to this. I understand getting a family shot in the arch but then get the heck out and allow others a chance. (sorry- just venting) Later we viewed it from the distant viewpoints and people were climbing everywhere on the monument.
 These petroglyphs were on a short spur off the Delicate Arch Trail.
                     We stopped at some other areas to get our last looks at the great park.

 We left on Wednesday and made a short 110 mile move to Grand Junction Colorado. We are at Junction West RV Park a nice clean full hook up park. While here we will check out Colorado National Monument and maybe some of the 20 wineries in the area. There are also 7 breweries that could fill some time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canyonlands and More

Hi all,
 We knew when we came to Moab that we would have plenty to do but we may have underestimated.
Saturday was a drive to just explore the area. We drove down scenic Hwy 279 following the Colorado River. Along the way we stopped at some roadside Petroglyphs. We stopped and checked out a dinosaur track that was embedded in a rock slab. We also hiked a road into a large canyon. This road ends about 17 miles down, we then continued our drive north along the Colorado River on Hwy. 128.
 We did see some rafters running the river and stopped to enjoy a tailgate lunch. We ended the drive at Castle Creek Winery sampling the offerings.) I am not much for wine but Wendy did find a sweet wine she liked.
 Sunday was a rare rainy day. Our only venture out was to the Hole In The Wall.
Now a museum, it was a 5000 square foot home and restaurant dug in sandstone by Albert Christianson.
 It had begun as a alcove for his sons in 1945 then expanded in size over time to be a diner and eventually a complete 14 room home. Neat features included a fireplace which required drilling down 65 feet for the chimney and a rock bath tub. He had planned to build a stairwell to a deck on top but passed away before it could happen, he was only 53. His wife continued to live there opening a gift shop and selling tours of the home until she passed away in 1974. Their remains are laid to rest in a small alcove near the home.
 Monday started out at a very cold 30 degrees but with clear skies we headed for Canyonland National Park. Canyonlands is a huge 337,598 acre mix of canyons, mesas, buttes, arches, and rivers.
 The park is divided into 3 sections by the Colorado and Green Rivers. The areas are The Maze (to the west), The Needles (south), And Island in the Sky (on the north). There are no roads connecting the 3 areas and visiting the Maze requires high clearance 4 wheel drive.
 We visited Island in the Sky. It is a huge mesa at 6000 feet above sea level with the Colorado River running 2000 feet below. There are 34 miles of road with numerous lookouts which all seem to offer stunning views.
Mesa Arch
Green River
  Not done yet we had passed the entrance to Deadhorse Point State Park so on the return trip home thought why not.
 The story to Deadhorse was early cowboys would round up mustangs and drive them to this point. It had a narrow neck of land that blocked off made a natural corral. For some unknown reason horses were left in the corrals to die of thirst.
 The park offers a full hookup campground with biking and hiking trails. Some along the rim offering Colorado river views.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Moab, Utah

 Hi all,
We headed out on Thursday for Moab, Utah. It was about 170 miles of very pretty scenery.
Mexican Hat
We got a site at OK RV Park 3 miles south of town. Wendy had searched the park reviews and thought it would be a good place for a few days. As luck has it we got the last site and it is looking directly at a old run down mobile home. Turns out the annual Easter Jeep Safari is this week and most everything in town is booked. So we will just make the best and carry on.
 Moab is a super mecca for the outdoor fanatic. The area is famous for off road vehicles and mountain biking. But that's not all one can do, there's tons of rocks to climb, rafting the Colorado River, along with oodles of hiking.
 You also have two major national parks, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park to explore.
 Our first goal was Arches N.P. and what a place! Over 75,000 acres and over 2000 arches. We were amazed, we spent a good six hours in the park on the first visit and saw probably 12.
  Not just arches there are plenty of balancing rocks and canyons to explore the hours away.
 Some of the arches are visible from the road and some require a hike. Finding parking spots can get crazy at times, they do have some shuttle plans in the future.
 They have a 50 site campground no hookups and reservations are usually necessary.