Goosenecks

Goosenecks State Park, Utah
May 1 – 5, 2019

This was not Plan A or Plan B, but turned out to be the best plan. We were originally headed for some free boondocking on BLM land but when we got close we could see water in the small wash and decided to pass. We had seen positive reviews of Goosenecks State Park on Campendium but skipped it over for some reason. Maybe because it was $10/night to park on a dirt road with no services and we were going to get that for free at the boondocking spot. Maybe because the views looked better elsewhere. But after seeing the wash we remembered passing the sign for the park a little ways back and decided why not check it out. I’m glad we did. It turned out even better than the boondocking spot. 

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Yes, our bumper is only a few feet away from that steep drop. I made Chuck sleep on that side 🙂

We bumped down the rocky, dirt road along the rim to nearly the end and we are parked on the edge of a 1000’ cliff with 360 degree views.

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Doesn’t look as steep from this angle, but it is!

In one direction the stunning zigzags of the Raplee Anticline, in another cliffs and pagodas of red rock and off in the distance the outlines of Monument Valley.

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I never figured out the name of those dark rocks, looked like bear ears to me!

Directly below is the San Juan river which snakes back and forth in one of the best examples of an entrenched river meander, flowing 6 miles while only advancing 1.5 miles west on its way to Lake Powell. Yep, you learn all kinds of things when you read the signs! 🙂

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We enjoyed watching the river rafters 1000 feet below.

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At night the stars were amazing! Don’t worry, we were careful out there in the dark. The host warned us to not drink too much and walk off the edge. It has happened! 

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We even got out the fire pit one night.

We got a surprise message from Airstream friends who were headed this way. Thank you Instagram! They stopped for a night on their way to Moab and it was great to catch up in person. 

Besides enjoying the views we took one of the many hikes in the area. I chose Procession Petroglyph 6.6 miles up the Butler Wash road. The road in was a bit rough, so we were glad we have 4WD. We saw people camping with their trailers along the road and we wondered how they managed to tow them in.

The 2.8 mile round trip hike to Procession Petroglyph was a bit steep, crossing up and down through several washes

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before making it’s was across the slickrock.

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I was distracted by the vegetation that grew in little pockets of the slick rock where there was soil.

We played “I spy cairns” and only got off track once.

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The Procession Petroglyph tells the story of a large gathering. It is thought to be the work of the Basketmakers who lived here from 500 BC to AD 750.

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You can see the people coming from three directions (both sides and the bottom). Some of the people are little more than lines, but a few are wearing bird headdresses and are thought to be religious leaders.

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You can see the procession toward the center circle, which is thought to represent a kiva.
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Here’s a close up of one part of the 15 foot panel.

After looking at the panel we walked down along the rock wall to find a few more petroglyphs.

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Some other petroglyphs nearby.

Another day we drove up the Moki Dugway, 3 miles of steep, unpaved switchbacks that climb 1200’. I read that we could drive to a viewpoint and see displays about the dugway, but we never found them and just kept climbing up the dirt switchbacks until we were at the top.

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You can see part of the road and a teeny tiny car in the middle.

From reading online I learned that a dugway was a ditch dug into a hillside. It was used to put the upper wagon wheels into so the wagon wouldn’t slide down the steep surface.

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High atop the Moki dugway.

From the top we had great views in all directions including across Valley of the Gods. There is a popular dirt road through Valley of the Gods, but from up there we could tell we didn’t want to drive the entire 17 miles. We decided to check out the bit of off US 163 where we had originally planned to boondock. After driving in a few miles we were glad we didn’t bring the Airstream in there. While there were some nice sites with great views, the road was a bit rough and I think our views at Goosenecks were even better.

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This was the peaceful, relaxing spot we needed after the craziness of Lake Powell. We really enjoyed the amazing views.

After Goosenecks our plan was to head to a campground in the national forest between Blanding and Monticello, but checking the weather it looked cold, so another change to our plans. Instead we’re headed back to Moab. Let’s hope this visit is better than the last!

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