Monday, November 27, 2017

A Trip to Crystal Peak

 My brother was in town and wanted an adventure, so we headed out to Crystal Peak. This is a small mountain made of Tunnel Springs Tuff, about 33 million years old. The light colored rock really reflects the light, so on summer afternoons, it looks like the mountain is glowing. In the winter, the sun is in the south, so we don't get the same effect, but up close, the mountain is still beautiful.

Desert Girl really wanted to find some fossils, and along the south side of the mountain, the tuff meets up with the highly fossiliferous Kanosh Shale. It didn't take long for the rock hammer to come out!

We started seeing some fossils, mainly brachiopods.

But then we found some different fossils (maybe a cephalapod?).

 We weren't sure what caused the iron intrusion next to these brachiopods.

We kept going higher to see if we could make it to the summit. I remembered doing it a few years ago  and had conveniently forgotten all the hard parts. (That's one of my skills for going back to unpleasant caves.) I had also forgotten the right landmarks. I should have read my 2014 Crystal Peak blog post, which conveniently shows the easiest way up to the summit. We started up a gully.

We had some spectacular views of the Burbank Hills, the distant Snake Range including Wheeler Peak, and the Flat Ferguson Desert. We also had a scary climb. The tuff is not a solid rock, and handholds and footholds will suddenly break.

Desert Boy had elected to wait below with the dog, but Desert Girl was ready for a challenge.

Ed made it to the top! Well, the top of one part of the mountain. It wasn't the tippy top because I had led us up the wrong gully, but the views were still awesome.

We decided that was good enough for the day, and started heading down. Down is actually much harder than up--back to that rock crumbling part.

The interesting hollows in the rock are called tafoni. I only know that because I read my 2014 blog post. :)

It seemed like we went down a long, long time.

Looking through a tafoni window towards a peak to the south. Yeah, I have to get a little artsy fartsy sometime.

The true peak is up above the nearly sheer cliff just right of center in the photo below.

We met up with Desert Boy and Maggie. Desert Boy had been in a bad mood, but the rest had cured him, and now he was happy.

The late afternoon light was magnificent, highlighting the shadows on the mountain. This peak is full of challenges, and I'm sure we'll be back! If you want to see and read more about this peak, check out the 2014 post and the 2009 post.
Still have to teach the dog how to sit still for a photo and not come to me!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Walking Around (Through) Pruess Lake

 On the first day of Thanksgiving Break, it was warm. Actually it was hot! We joined some friends at Pruess Lake, south of Garrison, Utah. We had had a crazy morning so were running a little late, so we hurried to catch up.

 These boys were busy trying to make a little dam, so it wasn't too hard to catch up!

The low water (we have hardly had any rain in two months!) met that the lake level was extremely low. We found lots of California floaters along the shore.

After about an hour, we were hungry, so broke out some snacks and a stove to cook hot dogs. (The fire didn't work, so good thing there was a backup! We'll have to practice our fire making skills.)

Then came something particularly interesting--a live California floater. We had fun looking at its gooey insides. Then Desert Girl put it back in the lake.

Isaac found a goose decoy.

Desert Girl had a bag to collect her treasures.

The kids were excited to find a mini-lake. It was obvious they were interested in the water. So was I.

I couldn't resist taking off my shoes, rolling up my pants legs, and walking in the water. Most everyone followed.

The water was warm. The mud was gooey. It felt great.

The water was so calm that we had great reflections.

Eventually we came out to a muddy beach.

And then it was time to wallow in the mud!

I accidentally stepped into a soft spot and ended up coated in mud.

Desert Boy got trapped later and needed help.

We hiked a bit further.

The water was so shallow the kids could go way out in the lake and it was still only ankle deep.

And then they started wallowing in the mud and water again. You'd think it was summer!

The mud was a little sticky, so they were looking a bit dirty.

Maybe "a bit dirty" is an understatement.

We tried taking a shortcut to get back, but the mud got super deep. I was sinking up to my knees with every step. It was like post holing through snow, only warmer. The beautiful views kept us going, and we eventually made it back to the vehicles. It was a good adventure, and quite amazing we could do it in late November.
The part I didn't get photos of: the cleanup! The kids didn't particularly like being hosed off. And we had to soak their clothes in a bucket of water outside before putting them in the washer. It was still worth it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More Fun in Moab 2017: Biking and Canyonlands

After we finished the Moab Adventure 5K Race and had plenty of post-race refreshments, we went back to the hotel and swam. It was so nice to relax by the pool! Then it was time to eat and then we wanted a mild adventure. Brooke suggested the paved bike trail next to the Colorado River, and that was perfect. It was windy, but otherwise it was gorgeous.

 We had the trail nearly to ourselves, and the shifting clouds made the scenery even more dramatic.

The trail is relatively short, about 2.5 miles of pavement, but that worked out fine.

On the way back we crossed over the bridge just for the fun of it. The Colorado River is impressive!

Along the way we saw a sight we weren't expecting--a slackliner. It was especially hard for the slackliner to stay upright due to the gusts of wind.

After that bike ride, we still had some daylight but not too much energy, so we decided to go for a drive up to Canyonlands National Park. The kids had never been there.

Across from the visitor center we found a beautiful viewpoint. The kids were happy to hang out with Brooke!

We stopped at an overlook and saw these fun-looking switchbacks.

We decided we had enough energy for the 1/4-mile long trail to Mesa Arch. This raven got there the easy way.

It was cool looking through the arch at the rugged scenery beyond.

A quick family photo.

Brooke and Desert Girl.

Desert Girl was into doing tree pose up on top of some rocks in the last rays of sunlight.

Then we went to the end of the road and saw the White Rim Trail, a 100-mile long trail that can be done by jeep or biking or hiking. It looks like it would be a lot of fun. Brooke had biked it in the spring and warned that camping permits can be hard to get.

That was plenty of activity for one day, so we went to bed. The next morning we got up ready for another adventure--mountain biking! We headed north of Moab to the Moab Brands Mountain Bike Area, where there are an array of trails.

While my husband biked with the kids, Brooke led me on a series of trails that she made look easy.

In places they challenged me. But Brooke reminded me that I had taken her caving even though she had claustrophobia and she had done it, so I should buck up and just bike. I appreciated the tough love.

After I got over some of my initial nervousness, I really enjoyed it. I built up more confidence. Until the last couple miles, when I was so tired!

We found my husband and the kids back in the parking lot and told them about the OK Corral, a super neat part at the end of the parking lot. You can ride where ever you want. This was incredibly fun.

The kids kept riding and riding, especially Desert Girl. She said she could ride there all day.

Thanks to Brooke for sharing these adventures with us!

If you're heading to Moab, there is so much to do! Here are some of our adventures:

And nearby:

 What do you like to do in Moab? I feel like we've just barely scratched the surface!
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