10.07.2015

San Rafael Swell


We left Montrose early this morning, heading west. We're trying to get across Utah and partway across Nevada before stopping, so there wasn't much time to stop for photographs.

Lunchtime came when we were near Green River, Utah and we were both craving a hamburger. So we checked out Ray's Tavern. My blue cheese bacon burger just might be the best burger I've ever had. And on this hot day, bottomless iced tea tasted pretty good, too.

Thirty miles west of Green River, I-70 bisects the region known as the San Rafael Swell. We've stopped eastbound on a previous trip to Colorado, to walk out to the edge and enjoy the vista. It's an amazing landscape, different, but every bit as beautiful and interesting as the national parks and monuments to the south.


Utah.com says this about the Swell:

Eons ago, tremendous geologic upheavals formed a giant dome of rock- a "swell" in the earth's 
surface. The harsh elements beat against this dome and eroded it into a wild, broken array of 
multi-colored sandstone. Wind and water carved this jumble of rock into incredible formations 
as buttes, canyons, pinnacles and mesas emerged, making the Swell one of the most ruggedly 
beautiful pockets of terrain in the world. A part of the Colorado Plateau, the San Rafael Swell is
high desert country, and in some sections, it is a sweeping country with towering mesas, buttes, 
and pinnacles rising from flat desert floors. In other areas, it boasts rolling pasture lands 
populated with antelope and wild horses. And just around the bend it can become an incredibly 
wild, broken land with streams cutting through slot canyons that open up to panoramic vistas.

We stopped at all the overlooks heading west; most had an earthcache to find, and we also shopped the Navajo jewelry and pottery vendors there. And took pictures. One last stop before getting back on the road was designed to bring people to a place of scattered black boulders, each with a pictograph. It was an unexpected and very cool stop on the shoulder of the highway.


My favorite antique shop in one of the tiny Utah towns was also a must-stop; DW dropped me off and bought gas, then picked me up. I like the retired man who owns the place. He moved there to be close to family, but eventually they all moved away and he was left alone in a place he'd come to love. I but didn't find anything to buy this time, but loved it when a man asked the price of a large bowl, just like one he'd broken recently. The shop owner said "in that case, it's free," and wouldn't be budged when the customer protested.

We made Ely by nightfall.

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