July 11, 2011
Back in the Razor again we continue West. We are on a path designated as Collett Road. This is no road, even though our hand drawn map states it is, unless you call a rocky boulder laden river bed a road. The clouds above us keep threatening to unleash their rains and this makes me a tad nervous. I have witnessed with my own eyes how quickly this dry land can quickly fill a river bed and become a torrent of flowing waters as we witnessed from the storm the other day. I keep hoping that the rains that will inevitably come will at least hold off until we are clear of the low lands. This is really amazing country and this is definitely the best way and probably the only way except maybe with a horse or dirt bike, to experience it. It is very muddy in the areas that surround the river bed, even when it is dry. Andrew and I feel as we are a million miles away. We occasionally feel the shadow of a bird overhead or hear the scurrying of a small critter as it takes cover in the tall grasses. When we turn the engine off we hear nothing. We feel like we are all alone out here.
If the rains started we would have to run fast to make it to high ground. Even in my wildest imagine I really don’t see myself clambering up the sides of the ridges in a hurry. We travel several miles along the damp riverbed. Even crossing the riverbed there are many rocks the size of our wheels that we must navigate. Although the trail was very rocky, we feel secure wearing our seat belts so that we are not ejected. On the bottom side of the vehicle is a metal skid plate that did an excellent job of keeping boulders from coming through the floor. There are times when I begin to wonder if maybe we zigged instead of zagging but eventually we pull out of the river bed and start heading to higher ground and once again able to excel that felt quite reassuring. Up on top of the ridge we confront with a very lonely sign in the middle of nowhere. Looks like it was placed there in error but thankfully it indicates that we are on the right trail to the ruins. I wish had thought to take a picture of it, indicating the ruins are a couple of miles away. Without a drivable trail we will have to walk 2 1/2 miles down to the ruins. Just as we are about to descend the ridge the skies beg to differ on our plans and voice their disapproval with flashes of bright lightning. We may be city folk, but we have traveled enough to know that standing on top of a ridge in a lightning is tantamount to dousing yourself in gasoline and striking a match. Disappointed, we decide to leave the ruins for another time and high tail it out of dodge for the day.
We have successfully located two points of interest using our primitive GPS and so we feel somewhat more confident that we have mastered how to use it. Next on our list is to visit some Petroglyphs. Upon our arrival we are greeted with ancient artwork which we both estimate to be circa 2001. The collection of beer cans support our appraisal.
We were encouraged to find some much older drawings but not as many as we thought we would see. It seems there may have been a recent rock slide. I believe the ancients had it right. Looking at these ancient drawings it makes me wonder why we have so many words to describe the same thing in our language. Wouldn’t languages be so much easier to learn if we narrowed it down to a few select words or pictures. Looking at the pictures on the wall it is easy to decipher their message. It is definitely true, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.
These crevices seem like a nice cool place for a rattler to live. We are not keen to go exploring.
Andrew takes a few shots of the surrounding area and looking back we see just how small and insignificant we are compared to the landscape around us.
We begin the stretch north again locating a dirt road good enough for 4wd vehicles to travel. Along the way we view a few Moqui houses in the cliffs above us. How did they get up and down into these shelters? And why exactly did they chose to live here instead of somewhere closer to the ground? Andrew and I must be distant relatives as we too seem to take the path least traveled too. The clouds are gathering once again and upon hearing the distant rumbling of thunder we reluctantly continue on a little faster pace hoping to out run the rains.
We experience a few showers, nothing worth really worrying about but the path ahead must have seen some rain earlier. Then we realized that we were actually heading into the rain as the road suddenly devolved into a muddy bog. We suddenly find ourselves knee deep in mud. Stopping to grab the food from the back and found it included mud pie as the main dish for the day. Andrew was having too much fun as he pushed the pedal to the metal, spun the tires a little faster, and kicked up the mud around and in the ATV. Suddenly I had to blink to make sure I was sitting next to a thirteen year old. We have a couple of videos on our new phone but I have yet figured out how to get them from the phone to the computer.
Back to civilization, we still have a couple of hours to kill and decide to head up into the mountains. We won’t have time to fully explore the area but we hope to explore Posey Lake. I think Andrew is looking for an excuse to drive the razor around a little bit more. Along the way we pass a line of young men marching in single formation down the gravel road with a van following behind. In a discussion with one of the locals we learned that there is a boot camp in the area that works with troubled youth and they frequently take the road up and back as part of the reconditioning process.
Posey Lake is located about 8 miles or so up into the aspen lined mountains. We have traveled from river bottom to 9,000 ft in 45 minutes. From her you can reach “Hell’s Backbone”, which is a bridge that expands a vast ravine. Unfortunately we do not have enough time to do so before the rental is due back so our travels will end after we visit here at Posey. Posey is a small lake, more like a pond really and has a few primitive sites. It has a small peer that a father and son fishing from. It is very quiet, almost eerie, up here and would make a wonderful camping experience. Beware of bear activity, evident as every site has a bear proof food container. Being primitive campsite, there is no electricity but with the high altitude and lower temperatures it would be easy to get away without it.
Descending downhill was much quicker and we found ourselves in town within 30 minutes. Back in town we are sad to end the day. We refuel and we arrive exactly on the dot. Andrew stretched every last second he could get by traveling down all of the town’s back streets. The owner is definitely taken-a-back with the amount of mud we had collected today. He jokes that it will take a week to clean it off. One other vehicle has already been returned, they must definitely not taken our tour as it is virtually spotless. He is also surprised with the route we chose says most of the out-of-towners tend to stay on the well traveled routes (except maybe for the man and his 60 year old mother he told us of earlier). Give US a choice and we will definitely take The Path Least Traveled every time.
Today is definitely going down as one of the top ten adventures for us. It was a fabulous day and we both enjoyed ourselves to no end.