Friday, September 23, 2011

The La Sal Road near Moab, UT -- Great Drive

 We arrived in Moab, UT from Salt Lake City after dealing with lots of road construction which caused Rick to miss his morning coffee - and he was crabby. Fortunately, he was delighted when we got to Moab and saw the fabulous sites in the area. In fact, our first day there was spent traveling on the nearby La Sal Mountain Road. This great scenic drive starts just north of Moab and first follows the Colorado River in this spectacular canyon. 
 The canyon walls next to the river are amazing. Here, you can see a new stone arch in the making which is being carved right into the rock.

 The road is cut right into the base of the rock wall as you can see here -- we felt a bit insecure as we drove under the wall, next to the river. Imagine the forces that are at play in carving this rock wall.

We eventually emerged from the deep canyon and saw these mesas and remarkable rock formations along the river's edge. 

 After a few miles, we turned south, away from the river and entered a very different type of terrain as typified by this huge mesa that seemed to grow vertically out of the ground.

 The formations became ever more interesting, such as this stone spire seen here. This is probably familiar from a number of western movies and TV commercials (in fact, Chevrolet actually used a helicopter to hoist a car up to the top. Not sure how this helped sell Chevy's, but the rock is pretty cool.)

 Soon, we began to climb on the La Sal mountain and soon got to see landmarks we had passed along the way. In fact, you can see rock spire formations we had just seen. This was a beautiful view as the skies cleared, so we headed up on the mountain.

 The storm that went through the night before was exiting toward the east and was still over the La Sal Mountain. It was fun to see the top of the mountain at 12,750', covered in clouds. We also learned a bit later that it was pretty cold up there!

 One of the amazing things of this drive is the different terrain we covered in only 60 miles. First, we drove through rock canyons and then remarkable rock formations. Then, we began to climb the mountain into forests and lush growth. This is clearly seen above where the forest suddenly changes into wild rock canyons and spires.

 This sign kind of sums it up. The road climbs very steeply with sharp curves, but is no problem as long as you keep it slow and under control.

After an hour of hill climbing, the sun came out fully and we could see the results of the clouds on the mountains -- new snow! This is now mid September and we can tell that winter is on its way.

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