Friday, September 25, 2020

Boondocking in Rabbit Valley - Day 3: Exploring BLM Trails

 Thursday, September 24

Decided to explore some of the trails I'd spotted while riding to/from the Knowles Overlook Campground on Wednesday.  Trail #2, which I began enroute to Knowles Campground, turned out to be not much in terms of scenery.

I cut back to McDonald Creek Road and instead of turning left to go to the campground, kept going straight on a road which led to a locked gate at the Utah border.  On the way to said gate, I had spotted an interesting rock formation so I turned around and parked Yagi there to explore a bit and get out of the sun for a bit:

I then walked to the right of the above rock formations and found myself a nice rocky alcove with interesting wind-carved niches on the sandstone walls:

Here's successive shots of the alcove, going back a bit each time to give you some context:

The above rock formation formed a wide arc of stone, after a bit I got back on Yagi and rode to the other end of the arc:

I then returned back to the locked gate, capturing yet another end of another arc of sandstone formations:

Here's Yagi at the fence line with the locked gate, that rock formation in the background is in Utah.

You can see a bit of the Colorado River flowing into Utah

Back to the Alcove Rock location, another view of the alcove and more wind-carved niches:

After a bit, I headed on over to the Knowles Overlook Campground and found a spot where I could the telephoto lens to "bring in" the distant rock formations:

Rode on back to camp, had lunch and relaxed in the shade of the RV/Awning during the hot part of the day.

At 5 PM, I got on Fiona and rode out to check out the BLM roads on the north side of I-70 accessible via part of the Kokopelli trail and a couple of underpasses under the super slab.  Nice BLM roads, soft dirt and bit rocky but quite Uralable.  I rode along windswept prairie, way up high, above the traffic on the super slab down below.

Sorry, no pics of Fiona, it was just windswept prairie and I couldn't get a good angle on the traffic below due to the height.

This high mesa area is quite wide, and I ended up exiting BLM land on a paved road that you can take to the small town of Mack, CO.  Instead, I went the other way to pick up BLM Road 728 which was more high prairie riding for me and Fiona until we eventually reached the High North Campground!

Fiona and I then descended back down to the level of the super slab, crossed over it using the overpass that is part of the Rabbit Valley exit and returned to camp.  The campsites are filling up, I now have neighbors on both sides within line of sight.  I guess it's good that I'm going home to Centennial tomorrow!

Really enjoyed the last three days here in Rabbit Valley, highly recommended!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Boondocking in Rabbit Valley, CO - Day 2: Knowles Overlook

 Wednesday, September 23

Two rides to the same place, one before mid-morning and one in the late afternoon.

The destination was the Knowles Overlook Campground, another place that I'd missed before due to lack of signage.  Now there is signage and maps....go figure, now it's not hard to miss.

First though, I went east on the Kokopelli Trail which spans a large portion of the McInnis Conservation Area, of which Rabbit Valley is a part.  The trail was pretty easy with Yagi, it would have been a bit less enjoyable on Fiona as there were a few rocky spots along the way.

Pretty soon, I arrived at a nice overlook just before the trail seemed to end:

See the railroad tunnel opening?

I made my way back, past the campsite and the other campsites, most of which were empty as campers had left.  I made my way to the McDonald Creek Trailhead area, and soon I was approaching Castle Rock which is past the Castle Rock Picnic Area.

Things get really interesting at times as there's long stretches of deep sand which Yagi handled but there were a few dabs at times on my part to keep things upright!  

At Castle Rock.  I've been here before, I recalled, still worth a stop for pics:

About one more mile and lots of sand, I got to the Knowles Overlook Campground area.  The first two camping spots were pretty rocky and rough, even if my URRV could make the road to the campground, it wouldn't be able to use these spots.

The view from campsite #2

The sun was not quite overhead yet, it was around 11AM by this point.  So the centerpiece formations visible from the overlook were backlit and hard to photograph.  I resolved to return after 4PM today to see if the lighting would be better then.

Approaching Castle Rock

Some layered rocks as previous post, but this time
with the sun lighting them up

Got back to camp, had lunch and just relaxed and did some minor chores inside the URRV, read my book in the shade and just enjoyed a warm day with nice breezes until 4PM.

Gearing up again and riding Yagi once more, I returned to Knowles Overlook.  

The light was "mo better".

This formation reminded me of the Seven Sailors rocks
at the Valley of the Gods in southern Utah

As you can surmise from the above pic, I didn't stop at the same spots next to Castle Rock for pics as the spots I'd used before were in shadows.

I think you'll agree the afternoon lighting, pretty much Golden Hour quality, lit up the rock formations much better than what the morning offered.

I returned to camp, got Fiona ready to go and catch the sunset on top of the mesa where the High North Campground is located across the highway.  Unfortunately, I didn't leave enough time for travel, got UDF'ed along the way, and so got to the top AFTER the sun had set.

It wasn't much of a sunset anyways, so no big deal.  Hopefully tomorrow's sunset will be better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Back in Colorado - Rabbit Valley Boondocking

 Tuesday, September 22

I left the Flaming Gorge Brinegar Crossing campsite just before 8 AM and was soon in Manila, UT.  The sunrise that greeted me this morning wasn't too shabby:

I dumped tanks at the free dump site provided by the nice citizens of Manila.  It was next to the grocery store which made it convenient to get some supplies.  The grocery store is next to the gas station which made it convenient to fill the URRV gas tank up.  Almost like they thought it up that way when they put in the dump station huh?

By 1 PM, I was in Rabbit Valley, Colorado.  I must say, they've improved the camping signage and delineation of campsites quite a bit!  It used to be pretty much a free for all but now there's clearly marked sites and no camping anywhere not designated as such.  The signage is much improved in that there's now signs, before it was a bit of a mystery at times where stuff was.

I found a nice site, with lots of distance from the neighboring sites.  Got set up in no time and had a late lunch.  

The winds picked up between 4 and 5 PM but it also blew away all the clouds that had been covering the skies until then.

I went on a light recce with Yagi, to see where to go exploring tomorrow.  There's now a clearly marked trail that's just begging to be explored to the north of me.  That's for tomorrow I think.  I then rode south to the valley area where all the OHV traffic plays on the weekends.  

The sun was entering the golden hour and lit up this rock formation quite nicely don't you think?

There's a small narrow canyon near the above rock formation which is advertised as a horse trail but motorized vehicles are permitted:

I then cruised over the I-70 Super Slab using the overpass and saw signage (new to me) pointing to a campground called High North.  I liked the name and followed the gravel road.  It climbs to the top of a mesa of sorts.  There's 15 camp sites with nice views of the valley below:

This is the view from campsite #2:

That's the I-70 Slab below

I think next time I camp in Rabbit Valley, I'm going to check out the High North campsites!  I think it'll also be a good spot for sunset shots with one of my sidecar rigs.

Speaking of sunset, it wasn't too bad at the campsite:

Kudos to the BLM folks who've worked to improve conditions at this and nearby campsites!  As I write this, I can barely see my nearest neighbor, the noise from the highway isn't audible inside the URRV and barely when standing outside, and being here on a weekday, the solitude is gratifying.

Speaking of signage, strategically located maps are now available for reference!