Posts Tagged ‘Spanish Fork Canyon’

Pothole Trail: A page from my journal

            I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. — Henry David Thoreau       

Road Trip: June 21 – July 6, 2002

I was recently looking through my bins of journals hoping to find some specific details. I knew was in one of them. I didn’t find it, but I did come across a journal I kept during a 16-day trip from Ogden, Utah, to Texas back in 2002.

Saw my first pinyon jay at a rest area up Spanish Fork Canyon, then another one in Canyonlands National Park.

This was the first time I had looked at this particular journal since completing it nearly 19 years ago.  Perusing it brought back many good memories, including those of my former canine companion Maggie* who later traveled with me in my RV for eight years.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to retake the journey on my blog.

The journal contains more photos and brochures of places I visited than words, but with them to guide me, I think I can fill in the blanks. The one thing I did note carefully were the birds I saw each day, since I had only recently taken up bird watching.

I drove from Ogden, Utah, to Cortez, Colorado, the first day, just slightly less than 400 miles. I started before dawn to get past Salt Lake City and Provo before traffic, looking forward to my turnoff from heavily-trafficked Interstate 10 to Highway 6 that would take me through Spanish Fork Canyon. My first stop of the day was at the Spanish Fork rest area where Maggie and I took a short walk around the area, and where I saw a pinyon jay, a new bird for my life list.

Pothole Trail landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

Then it was up and over Soldier Summit, almost always a scenic drive – unless it’s during a winter storm – like the one I once drove through to get to Price for a newspaper story. It also wouldn’t be a good drive through the canyon this week as snows are predicted. But that June day in 2002, as I recall, was sunny, with a wildflower-filled meadow near the 7,477-foot summit.

After Price, the highway followed the Book Cliffs, a line of desert mountains east of Highway 6, to Green River, where after a jog on Interstate 79, it joined Highway 191. Just before Moab, I took a detour to the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park, where I hiked the half-mile Pothole Trail before continuing on my journey.

I had hiked, and enjoyed, this short trail before, and knew it would be a great way to break up the long drive and enjoy a bit of spectacular scenery as well. I wasn’t disappointed. – To be continued….

Bean Pat: Texas Tweeties https://bobzeller.wordpress.com/2019/03/03/post-number-1000-yee-haw/?wref=pil 1,000th post.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet community pathfinder, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

*Maggie, is the same canine companion featured in Bean’s book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon. 

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Utah's new Tie Fork Rest Stop near Soldier Summit on Highway 6. --Photo by Pat Bean

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” — Charles Dickens

Travels With Maggie

My first day back on the road after leaving Ogden took me to Moab on Utah roads I had traveled many times before. Traffic, as usual, was horrid until I turned off Interstate 15 and began winding my way up Spanish Fork Canyon on Highway 6.

Winter sunset on Mount Timpanogas. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I had passed this same way in April, Then the mountains had been dressed in snow. Now, in late September, they look naked, especially the 11,749-foot Mount Timpanogas. Its profile is said to be that of a sleeping Indian maiden, the legend of which is yet another version of the Romeo and Juliet story.

A cave sits within the mountain that contains a geological feature, enhanced by red lights, that is said to be the maiden’s heart.

Recollections of that powerful image, along with the effort of the steep mile and a half hike up the mountain to see it, tickled my brain as I drove past Provo this day. I prefer driving to the sound of silence instead of music to better focus on such memories and the current passing landscape.

Near Soldier Summit, which marks the end or beginning of Spanish Fork Canyon depending on which way you’re headed, a new sight greeted me, one that hadn’t been there when I had passed this way earlier. Now sitting at Milepost 202 on Highway 6 was the new Tie Fork Rest Stop.

Shiny and bright but going nowhere. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Dedicated just a month earlier, it was not just any old rest stop.Its place to do business looked more like a cathedral than an outhouse.

A high two-story building enclosed the restrooms and the pit stop was designed like a railroad roundhouse, complete with a shiny red and black engine with No. 435 emblazoned on its sides. The site was well landscaped with plenty of picnic tables scattered around for the outdoor dining pleasure of visitors, of which this day there were quite a few. I suspected it was the actual destination for some curious locals as well as a rest stop for us travelers.

Maggie got to enjoy the stop, too, as there was an area marked off just for pets.

The project is supposed to be in remembrance of the old railroad town of Tucker located just two miles away. I think I would have enjoyed it more if my thoughts hadn’t strayed to its cost.

Tie Fork's cathedral ceiling restroom

It seemed a bit too extravagant for me when our country is going through such economic woes. I suspected the money spent here could have been more thoughtfully spent reducing the country’s debt or better educating its children.

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