Blue Notch Canyon
We were staying in Monument Valley, and we had big plans to see almost all new trails before we were done. Monica was renting a Jeep, and it died twice just on the way to the gas station nearby. So, she went back and exchanged it for a different rental Jeep, and we were off. We headed up Highway 261 to do the Moki Dugway first. As always, it's an awesome trip up an extremely steep and twisty dirt road. We stopped at the top to check out the views before heading across Cedar Mesa.
When we got to our turn on Highway 95 where we were supposed to head west, Monica realized the Jeep had only half of a tank of gas. She'd checked the gas on the first rental Jeep but neglected to check the second rental. So, our exciting day had a detour to Blanding to gas up. Everyone filled up, and then we headed back along Highway 95.
It was a nice drive, but it definitely threw a wrench into the plans for the day. We passed so many promising trails on the way to our trailhead, but we wouldn't have time to do them. We aired down and started up the trail. When we found a flat area, we stopped there for lunch. It was a great lunch, even though we were just getting our day going. It was quiet with no one else around and no other noises from trains or planes. It would be like that the whole day.
The hill climb up to the pass was fun, and we stopped at the top. We could see Lake Powell far in the distance, and the views were phenomenal. We could also see the long trail winding its way there, so we didn't hang out long.
The descent was more gradual, and we weaved our way around. The trail was pretty easy, with a couple spots with small rocks or dips. It was gorgeous, and we really liked the trip.
We passed the turn to check out the end of the trail. It just ended at fire rings, and we got out to do a lot of exploring. We could see on GPS maps that the lake used to be right there -- in fact, we'd be under water -- even though we couldn't see any water from that area. The crazy thing was all of the shells everywhere that used to be under water. They were all small and white, not Quagga or Zebra Mussel shells. And they were everywhere! We hung out there for a long while just taking it all in. We did a 360-degree video up until that point.
Then we headed back to the turn we skipped so we could finish the trail. It took us up a short hill climb to the top of a hill that didn't have all of the shells on it, though the rocks were definitely worn smooth by water at some point. It gave us big views of the water below us, and we even saw a boat in the distance. It was a bit sad to think about all of the water that used to be there.
The shadows were getting long already and we had a long drive ahead of us, so we headed back at a pretty quick pace. We ended up back at the trailhead and airing up before the sun was down, which was good. Instead of doing the Dugway in the dark, we headed out to Highway 191 to have dinner in Bluff. The food is always so good there at Twin Rocks. It was a great start to our trip, even with the mess of the morning. It was going to be a good time in Utah.