We made sure we had plenty of gas and we headed out of Moab nice and early for our first day of Utah wheeling in 2009. We had a nice, big group and the weather looked like it was going to be perfect.
We first turned at the wrong place, the driveway of a ranch. It had a sign pointing us to Beef Basin just down the road, so we went a little further and found it. We all aired down and everyone was grinning from ear to ear. It was already a gorgeous trail and we could still see the pavement.
It started out easy enough, and we were happy to see that the trail was well maintained and there were very few sections with washboards. It wasn't even too dusty because it had been raining off and on since the day before. It wasn't long at all before we found our way to the Cathedral Butte and our little spur.
The spur ended up being pretty fun. There were a few ledges to climb, and we were all happy to be climbing over something even though nothing was very big. When we got to the end, we found plenty of space to park next to a picnic table and a big fire ring. This would be a great place to camp.
The views were spectacular, and we all scanned the canyon for arches (we could only spot one without taking more time). You could see for many miles, and we could have stayed there for a long time just soaking in the view. But we had a long day ahead of us so we pushed on.
The other side of the narrow bluff was also very scenic, and the trail skirted the edge on the way back. There were a few fun sections of bumps in this direction, too.
We got back to the main trail and headed off, and then Gary found out that he couldn't get his Jeep out of low range. We pulled to the side of the trail and Gary messed with his transmission as much as he could, but he seemed to be stuck with no high range. We hadn't even had lunch yet on the first day and Gary was out for the rest of the week without a Jeep. He turned around and made his slow way back to town while the rest of us continued on. Gary rode along with someone most of the rest of the week, but it wasn't as nice as it would have been if he could have had his Jeep along. Bummer!
The trail continued to be mellow and we quickly found ourselves climbing up Horse Mountain. The trail was chewed up a bit and you could tell that it had recently been muddy and someone had worked pretty hard to get through it. Some places were still a little damp, but it was pretty much dry and easy for us.
We turned right at the mountain intersection and headed back down. The mountain part almost felt like a tiny trip to Colorado right in the middle of a Utah trail. Weird! It would have been a really nice break from the usual heat if it had been a hot day, but we were having nice temperatures.
Our first sight seeing spur was to the cliff dwellings after getting into Beef Basin. There were cows and cowboys all over the place, so we had managed to drive into a cattle run. We passed them and took the trail for a little way, enjoying some rocky sections and some washed out sections, but we never saw the cliff dwellings. Admittedly, we never got out of our vehicles to go look, but we felt like we still had a long day ahead of us so we didn't take the time.
We had a nice lunch under some cottonwood trees in a sandy wash. There isn't much better than lunch on a Moab trail, and we all enjoyed ourselves.
We did the big loop in Beef Basin and stopped to see the hillside ruin on the far end. It was nice climbing around without too much heat.
We thought it would take longer, but it wasn't long at all before we were at the Tower Ruin. Wow, that site is awesome! The tower still stands pretty tall on one side, and it is still pretty straight. It has seen so much weather and so many people, but it still stands. We took a break in the shade and talked about it for a bit, but then we were off.
The Farmhouse Ruin was much bigger than the Tower Ruin but not that tall in any one spot. It was pretty cool to check out, and we all took lots of pictures.
Even with all of our dawdling we had made it to the end with lots of time left in the day. We all had about a half of a tank of gas, so we pushed on to do the Devil's Lane trail and come out at the trailhead to Elephant Hill. Beef Basin was a great way to start our vacation.