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Campsite Photo Trip - Fall 2011

Heading East

Greg Hits The Road Again For CampsitePhotos!

I headed out Saturday morning, which was a day early, to start my latest CampsitePhotos adventure. After looking over the route I had planned, which included almost 2000 miles in the first four days, it just made sense. My good friend Glenn is along for this journey, in fact, we are taking his car. And a whole lot more:


We added my canoe on top along with his Teardrop trailer and a pair of bikes on the back. We get some stares and quite a few thumbs ups!

Our first stop was at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah. To get there we headed up Interstate 15 through Vegas from SoCal, (yes, still more construction in Vegas), and turned left on Utah 9 just north of St. George, Utah, passing through Zion National Park on the way to the junction with Utah 89 and the entrance to Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Zion was very crowded, and only through traffic was permitted. Shuttles were available at the entrance for visitors looking to tour the park. Here is one of the tunnels:


We arrived at our campground and set up shop, then walked to see the dunes. Yes, they are pink:

Coral-Pink-Sand-Dunes-13 Coral-Pink-1 Coral-Pink-2

Rippling arcs of pink-colored sand welcome you as you enter the park. Contrasted by blue skies, juniper and pinion pines, and steep red cliffs, the park is a wonderful place for camping, photography, off-highway vehicle riding, and playing in the sand. As the only major sand dune field on the Colorado Plateau, this park is a unique geologic feature that should not be missed. We thought about taking the canoe to the top of that dune just to see the reaction we would get…but we did not.

Sunday morning we headed up Utah 89 toward it's junction with Interstate 70. Since our plans had changed we figured that a night at the Colorado National Monument near Fruita, CO, was in order. Before we reached I70 however, there was a startling development. Glenn found a lake:


And a very nice lake it was. Called Piute Lake, it is a Utah State Park that offers primitive camping on the lakeshore. The water was up and the leaves were turning, making for some beautiful contrasts in colors:

Piute-Lake-2 Piute-Lake-3

I thought I noticed something strange in the front window of Glenn's car, so I took a closer look. Seems like we may have picked up a hitchhiker:


We'll see how this plays out.

So we set up camp at Colorado National Monument, which preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau-and-canyon panorama. You can experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles. We had to leave early on Monday morning, so we did not get a chance to do much exploring. Below is a photo of our campsite and a dawn breaking over Fruita below:

Colorado-National-Monument-1 Colorado-National-Monument-3

We left I70 in Grand Junction, CO, and headed east on US 50. I thought we were lost for a bit and we were running low on fuel, but luckily Glenn found the Continental Divide, and it was all downhill from there:


11,312 feet high and the wind was screaming!!!

We continued east on US 50 to the town of La Junta, near the Kansas border. Losing light, we stopped a KOA, where we will enjoy our first showers of the trip…

We will be camping somewhere in Kansas tomorrow, maybe at Dorothy's place.

Regards, Park Ranger


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