It’s another very long post but we saw a lot.
After a long hiking day, today was a driving day. It was another tough one on the CRV. The Cathedral Valley Road loop is 100 km long and is recommended for 4wd high clearance vehicles. I was certainly glad we had the 4wd and we had enough clearance for everything we encountered. Again my main worry was the tires. There were some really rough sections with rather sharp looking rocks but we made it through.
Our first obstacle was that we had to cross this river.
I asked at the visitor’s center and they said it is currently 12 inches deep and we have 9 inches of clearance. As we were contemplating our attempt and another truck came along and just blasted through.
So that is what we did. I went faster than I would have liked but I didn’t want to stall in the middle. Obviously there are no pictures of the car in the middle.
Off we go.
Lots of colourful hills.
Our first stop was at an overlook to this canyon.
Everybody that goes up the road stops to take a picture of this old drilling rig, sunk in the sand.
Next stop was a salted up section of the wash we seemed to be paralleling.
An interesting rock made of gravel.
We climbed what they called the Bentonite Hills.
Jennie got some great pictures of the surrounding hills.
Next stop was a large flowering cactus that caught Jennie’s eye.
Then on to the Lower South Desert Overlook which was off a short side road. Then you had to hike for 1/4 mile. The last part of the hike was a bit rough.
But the view made it worth it.
The viewing platform. Jennie is middle right.
The face on this pillar had a huge nose.
I stared for a long time.
The road got really rough it spots. Normally I was doing 15 – 20 mph but here we just crawled along.
Next stop was Upper South Desert Lookout on another side road. Right next to parking lot, we thought this was the view.
But then we noticed the trail that led to the top of that point.
I went down to check out the narrow extension to the point.
Jennie stayed at the top of the hill.
This was the drop off behind her.
Just a little farther up the road on the other side was the side road to the Upper Cathedral Valley Overlook. The road was really rough.
But the view…
The road continues down in the valley but to get down to it we have to go on some very rough zigzags cut into a cliff face. It took a long, shaky time
Even though the road in the valley looked smooth there were sometimes deep pockets of sand that would swallow your wheel if you went too fast.
Close ups of some of the monuments.
Looking back to the mountains it seemed the weather was kind of bad up there.
Jennie can always find the flowers.
Our next stop was called the Gypsum Sinkhole. We weren’t quiet sure what to expect. It turned out to be a giant hole in the ground, I would guess to be about 100 feet deep. The pictures don’t do it justice. It was kind of scary to stand next to it. For me it was worse than standing next to a 1000 foot cliff. I am not sure why.
It was at the bottom of a tall wall.
While I stared in the hole, Jennie took pictures of the tops of the surrounding walls.
The side road in was actually pretty interesting as well. One wall had what looked like huge paintings on it.
We could see a sheep and way down at the right, a whale. But the paintings weren’t even on the wall. They were separate walls unto themselves.
We had to do a few more minor creek crossings.
And wait for some free range cattle.
Our final stop was Glass Mountain and the Temples of the Sun and the Moon.
Glass Mountain is this weird mound of gypsum crystals. The Temple of the Sun is over Jennie’s head. and the Temple of the Moon is between them.
The crystals were very sharp.
We skipped the Sun and went to the Moon, i.e. the small one in the background.
Notice Jennie walking along the bottom below. These things are huge.
Below is the sunward side, around the corner to the left in the picture above. Nothing is small around here.
Heading home. From here is took an 1 1/4 hours. More great scenery though, especially in the, by now, early evening light.
Finally back on the highway.
We left the RV a bit after 10 am and got back at around 7:30 pm. Another long day but again, wow!