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......................--- Day 1 -- Blanding, Utah to Torrey, Utah ---
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After a wonderful 4 day bike ride/trip to the Mountains of southwest Colorado the week before, we decided while the weather was still good, to take a 4 day trip within Utah to Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
Day one was from Blanding, UT to Torrey, UT with stops at Lake Powell and Capitol Reef. A side excursion into Capitol Reef National Park resulted in about 200 miles for the day. We have found the bike very comfortable if we limit the day to 250 miles or less as that doesn't rush things, lets us stop and see things and is easier on our butts.
Not far out of Blanding, on Highway 95, we had a nice view of some high buttes ahead of us that we would pass to the north of on our way to Lake Powell. It is about a 90 mile drive out to the north end of Lake Powell where 95 crosses the Colorado River, just as it flows into the headwaters of Lake Powell. This area had a number of working uranium mines for some time.
We passed Cheese Box Butte to the north of the highway and also to the north of White Canyon. Just prior to this we had passed the road into Natural Bridges National Monument, which is also a "must see" if you haven't been there, but we had, so passed it by on this trip.
Highway 95 is designated as a "scenic highway" and .....
..... deserves that designation with the high red-rock formations just to the south of the highway and the White Canyon just to the north. There are other canyons in the distance further to the north as well as numerous slot canyons in this area for those that are more adventurous.
As we traveled west on 95, the Henry Mountain chain became more evident on the far side of the Colorado River and Lake Powell.
Up to this point, White Canyon had been paralleling the highway just to the north of it. As we neared Lake Powell, we reached the bridge where White Canyon jogs to the south and crosses under the highway. Be sure and stop here .....
..... as the canyon below the bridge is quite spectacular. It is easy to pass over the bridge and not realize what you have just gone over.
The bridge is the only one on this stretch of the highway in either direction. It is the first one you will come to after leaving Blanding, UT, to the east, or the Colorado River bridge, to the west.
After the bridge, the road passed more red-rock outcroppings before ....
..... descending to the bridge over the Colorado River. A couple miles further west you cross another bridge over the Dirty Devil River which also enters Lake Powell at this point.
Not far past the Dirty Devil there is a short road off 95 that takes you to a view point high over the Colorado River and what is the end of Lake Powell, when it is at a higher water level. At the time of this trip the lake was down about 90 feet below the lake's level at maximum capacity. All of the green in the picture above is under water if the lake is full or near full.
In the picture above you can see the boat ramp "middle right" and what was the Hite Marina/boat ramp. It is the long sloping concrete pad there. Due to the low lake levels it has not been used for a number of years. If you want to put a boat in now, you have to use the ramps at Bull Frog/Halls Crossing or Page.
The view point is well worth pulling into as it offers great views of the high sandstone formations to the west. The Navajo Sandstone caps the ridge-line with the red layered Kayenta and the vertical red Wingate Sandstone below it along with the Chinle and Moenkopi sandstone formations further down.
The view above is looking across the Colorado River Canyon and the road and buildings there are the entrance into the Hite area. Hite was a river crossing long before Lake Powell and was named after Cass Hite, who found some gold there in the river sands and went on to live there. With the rising lake waters the ferry there was abandoned and replaced by bridges across the Dirty Devil and Colorado Rivers.
After a bit at the overlook, we were on our way .....
..... west again on 95 towards Hanksville, UT, where we stopped and had some lunch. The Fremont River and Muddy Creek join near Hanksville to become what is then the Dirty Devil River from Hanksville to Lake Powell. Highway 95 ends in Hanksville when it reaches Highway 24. You can take 24 north to Interstate 70 or west as we did to Capitol Reef National Park and on to Torrey.
Just to the west of Hanksville, on 24, we passed the dramatic gray butte above and ....
..... other beautiful formations before ....
..... entering Capitol Reef National Park.
In Capitol Reef, we left 24 for a short ride south to the road that takes you to the Grand Wash trail-head. The road was closed to vehicles due to recent flash flooding in the area.
We parked the bike and proceeded to walk down the gravel road into the mouth of Grand Wash passing scenes that remind me of pastels and ....
.... onto the end of the road and the trail-head. At this point we had walked over a mile and decided to put the trail hike of Grand Wash off for another day. I'd walked into the canyon on a previous visit and had also walked into it from its eastern end, where you can park on Highway 24 there and walk in from the east.
We walked back to the bike and ....
.... proceeded out of the park and back onto 24 .
Following 24 west we were soon in the town of Torrey UT and ....
.... onto our motel at the west end of town. We had decided on this trip at the last minute and September/October are really busy months. It took some looking to find a room with just a couple days notice. Motel Torrey had nice rooms at a reasonable price and we stayed there the first night and also had reservations for the third night, on our way home. We liked it with one exception. That was their continental breakfast, which consisted of bread that you could toast, two jars of jellies and one jar of peanut butter along with coffee and cranberry juice. Somewhat lacking but there is a restaurant across the street.
It was at that restaurant, the Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe, that we had dinner the night of our arrival and we enjoyed our meal there. They also have reasonably priced lodging, which we didn't check out.
NOTE: All of the pictures on this page and the following pages were taken by Dottie except for a couple and some were taken while we were moving. The bike gives you a 360 degree view.
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