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U um tah!

Tomorrow I'm going to call an RV park in Blanding to see if I could store my rig there for a week without having to pay the regular per night RVer rate.

Blanding is about the least expensive place in the area. Things are higher in Bluff and up in Moab.

The marina at Halls Crossing has storage for $2 a day. Least that what it was a few years ago when I was there. Mainly for folks who bring a boat. And there is storage at the Hall's Crossing Airport where you turn off to go in the old way.

Blanding would be nice as the HITR trip will end near Bluff.

And there has been some talk of a snow canal run in the San Juans on the way home. That will be Memorial day weekend and they really try to have Ophir, Cinnamon, and Engineer open then.

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A little history on this trail. In the 1870's Morman pioneers were looking for a direct route to the SE Utah near where Bluff Utah is today. An expedition took place as show by the dash lined counter clockwise route on the map.

The south part of that expedition route used some of the Honeymoon Trail I was out exploring in September. From just west of Navajo Well to near Moenkopi is the same route as the Honeymoon trail used.

On the north part of that route it looks like the section between Moab and Green River is close to what is called the Crystal Gyser trail today. That is done by Jeep Easter Safari. http://www.rr4w.com/databaseshowitem.aspx?id=127

The south route had trouble with indians both back then and today. Today there is Indian reservation land from the east side of Lee's Ferry all the way to Bluff/Montezuma.

The north route was very long and so they decided to make the HITR direct route that is shown with the dotted line. The section of HITR was use for about 2 years then the actual HITR section was move north a bit using the Burr Trail. The Burr Trail went north from Escalante to Bluff then east to Capital Reef and south to Halls Crossing. Bullfrog is accross from Halls Crossing today and a Ferry runs to transport vehicles from one side to the other. East of Halls crossing the HITR road remained the same to Comb Ridge.


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The news and pictures of the area where the Park Ranger was shot near Moab last weekend has the cabin fever going. I dug out my DVD of Riders of the Purple Sage (1995 Ed Harris & Amy Madigan). If you've ever been on Hwy 211 NW of Monticello headed for Canyonlands Needles district you'll remember 6 shooter peak. Purdy country everyone should see at least once.

Been workin on my trucks tryin to shortin the to do list afore Christmas. Green (94 Explorer) needs the lift finished, front end alligned, TK trans and Stubler installed, door hinge pins installed (drivers side for sure), winch brackets removed, gas smell fixed, fluids changed/checked and the tires changed and it's ready to go. Jr. (88 Bronco II) needs trans shifter installed, Fuel pumps and sending unit so the gas gauge works, fluids changed/checked and tires changed and it's ready to go.

4 weeks till Christmas. 25 weeks till U um tah! Sure hope I goes fast. I have some tent repairs to make loading up to do but most likely I'll be able ta hold off on that till after Christmas.:D

24 weeks till U um tah. Gonna need ta go over on the west side and do the Burr Trail. The Hole was only used for a few years. I'll get that sorted out soon. But I have read that the the Burr Trail was used to Halls Crossing after folks ran through the Hole for a while. May need to go over to Escalante and do a quick run in that side for a few picks. I'll know more on that in a month or so. But I'll most likely go over and meet a guy and at least do the Burr Trail. Folks are welcome to do that and/or the Escalante side if you want to. If not I'll just go out early for that stuff. Or we'll work it in some how.

The Escalante side is just wash board road. It'll shake all yer trim screws out. But high clearence 2wd is all that is needed in good weather. Lots of stuff to see and it should be on your to do list if you haven't. The Burr Trail is paved. There is graded dirt and sand through the Capital Reef. But again high clearence 2wd. There is a side trip through Muley Twist Canyon that has Arches to look at and a hike at the end. It is easy 4wd with small (cantalope size) bumpy rocks.

Again the difficult part is on the East side of Lake Powell from Cottonwood Hill to The Fort. The rest of the trail to Bluff is a combination of paved and easy to moderate 4wd. There is one rock climb called the Finally east of Cow Tank that might be considered difficult. These rating are for a stock vehicle. Modified trucks should have no trouble if you watch what yer about.

I started this thread as Jon mentioned a fondness fer settin at a roomin house in the evenin sippin adult drinks. So folks are welcome to attend all or part of this. Just let me know what parts ya want to do and we'll work it all out.

Course this is just the latest kinda sorta maybe plan. Like as not the details will change a bit several more times. But it is written in stone that me and my oldest son and maybe my youngest will be heading to SE Utah to wheel in 24 weeks.

Just 22 weeks left!

A time line of the original road.

April 13, 1879, Silas Smith and an exploratory party left Paragonah (near Cedar City, Utah) to blaze a trail to the four-corners area of the San Juan River. The Smith party crossed the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry. After reaching Montezuma Creek, men built two cabins and worked on irrigation ditches for the Harrison H. Harriman and James L. Davis families. The two families planned to stay on Montezuma Creek. Five other families were located not far away on McElmo Creek—four of the families were non-Mormon. The Smith party left Montezuma Creek and headed north towards Moab. They found the old Spanish Trail at the edge of the La Salle Mountains, and followed it back to Paragonah. The Smith Expedition had taken five months. It was decided to search for a more direct route. Charles Hall of Escalante was sent to find a wagon route to the Colorado River. Fifty-five miles southeast of Escalante, Hall found a narrow cleft in the canyon rim. Andrew Schow and Rueban Collett were sent to explorer a possible trail on the other side of the Colorado River. A few miles above the Hole-in-the-Rock opening, the two men lowered a wagon box off the cliff. Using the wagon box to cross the river, the men climbed up high enough to see the San Juan and Colorado River junction. Satisfied, the two men returned to Escalante and reported it could be done. The canyon rim route was chosen because it was shorter than the northern alternative and safer than the southern route through Navajo Indian lands. The distance from Escalante to the San Juan was estimated at two hundred and fifty miles and would require about six weeks.

On October 22, 1879, men, women, and children started for Escalante.

By the twentieth of November, two hundred people with eighty-three wagons and well over a thousand head of horses and cattle were at Forty-mile Spring. Jens Nielson sent four men to explorer from the Colorado River to the San Juan River. Gone a week, only one of them, George C. Hobbs, thought it was possible to continue with wagons. The other three men believed wagons could not reach the San Juan area.

A meeting was held on the fourth of December, and after a long deliberation, the vote to continue was nearly unanimous. By the tenth of December, the Forty-mile camp had moved to Fifty-mile Spring.

On the seventeenth of December, a scouting party was sent to Montezuma with two horses and two pack mules. The men marked the trail with rock cairns.

The exploratory party returned on the ninth of January to report a road would be difficult, but possible. While workers were carving out the Hole-in-the-Rock road, Charles Hall was working on the ferry. Lumber for the ferry was cut in Escalante and hauled to the Rim—by this time, the opening was wide enough to carry and lower the timber to the river. Charles Hall’s workers built a ferry wide enough to carry two wagons at a time. The ferry was moved over the slow water with a pair of oars.

The wagon teams had to be forced into the slot—the best team was a pair blinded by pinkeye. With the back wheels locked, and up to twenty men and boys hanging onto long ropes, the first wagon started down on the twenty-sixth of January. Twenty-six wagons were taken down the first day. On the steepest slopes, horses fell and were dragged, or pushed, but none were seriously injured.

By the thirtieth of January, all of the wagons had reached a level area with cottonwood trees and a good stream. This was the first opportunity for the women to wash clothes. The wagons remained in the Cottonwood Canyon camp for ten days while the road was built out of the canyon—it was still five miles to the top of Grey Mesa.

By the tenth of February, the Cottonwood Hill road was ready. It took seven teams to pull wagons up the steep grade.

Off of Comb Ridge and across Butler Wash the settlers reached the Bluff area on April 6, 1880. Though several miles short of Montezuma Creek, the weary travelers could go no farther.

The Charles Hall family built a cabin and remained at the Hole-in-the-Rock ferry crossing. When an easier route was found from Escalante down Harris Wash to the Colorado River, Charles Hall moved the ferry upriver to present day Hall’s Crossing on Lake Powell. Hall’s Crossing is across the lake from Bullfrog Basin.

Hall began operating the ferry in 1881. In 1884, the ferry was lost when it either broke its moorings or was cut loose by cattlemen to prevent its use by rustlers. It was not replaced and the Hall family left the area.

Only 21 weeks left.

Still going to be February till my youngest son finds out if he can get the time off of work. My oldest needs to check about time off also. He's not sure if he can get both weekends off or not.

A friend might have a new truck. With the new truck he will need to go back to Escalante and run the west side again to get pics. If my son's (or someone else) can get enough time off I'd like to take them down that and show them all the sights. It'd take a long day. If they can't get enough time off or don't want to do the west side I might go over to look at Harris Wash while my friend runs down to get pic's. I wouldn't mind running the Burr trail again. Just have to see how everything works out. My friend and I are both kinda retired so time is not a problem for us and we can go out early for the west side and the Burr Trail if no one else wants to do it. It's two days travel time for me to Escalante. Have to go past Green River on I70 to 24 south to Hanksville. Then over to Torrey and down through Boulder to Escalante.

Still difficult to get across SE Utah 130 years after folks built HITR. It is like not being able to cross 35 from Topeka to Oklahoma. You could cross at I70 in Topeka (I70 at Green River in Utah). The only other drive across would be around Peabody (Hite Crossing in Utah). There would be a ferry near Wichita (Halls Crossing in Utah). And from Hite to Halls is 83 miles by road looping to the east. The only other road crossing would be at Renfrow, OK (Page, AZ). To drive from Halls Crossing to Page is a 287 mile loop east and south. Kinda gives you an idea how big and rugged this country is.

The attached pic shows Harris Wash in the center. Lower left dashed line is the west side HITR from Escalante to the actual HITR. Upper right dashed line is the Burr Trail.


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Been workin on my trucks tryin to shortin the to do list afore Christmas. Green (94 Explorer) needs the rear shackle lift finished, front end alligned,new front wheel bearings and ball joints=Done TK trans and Stubler installed, door hinge pins installed (drivers side for sure), winch brackets removed, gas smell fixed, fluids changed/checked and the tires changed and it's ready to go. Jr. (88 Bronco II) needs trans shifter installed, Fuel pumps and sending unit so the gas gauge works, new R&P in the rear, over the leaf spring rear traction bars installed-Done, fluids changed/checked and tires changed and it's ready to go:D

Need to add power steering leak repaired for Jr.

Garrett will not know if he can get the time off till Feb. Clint does not know if he can get friday the 20th or monday Memorial Day off or not. So Clints schedule has a min and max till he finds out. He wants to be back a full day before he goes back to work. If it's just Clint and I and we only need one vehicle I will be riding with Clint and tied to his schedule. If not I can go out early and stay late.

I found a map of the new route in. The plan is still to go in the new route and out the old route.


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With deep regret I have to pull out of this one.Sheri's boss threw a curve ball and scheduled weird weeks for vacation. 3rd week of March, and days around memorial day weekend will be the 1st half vacation weeks. :mad:

That's too bad Jon. We will miss you guys. We'll look forward to next time.

Right now it looks probable that the original plan on post #4 is gonna be the one. If the boys do get friday off we'll just add something to the first part of the trip like a loop through Valley Of The Gods or maybe a run on Arch Canyon or Hotel Rock.

If we have an extra day maybe do a snow canal trail in the San Juans

17 weeks! Jr. just needs the fluids changed and to be loaded. Could work on the shifter a bit (can't get it locked in 1st rear). Tranny is in Green. It needs a bunch of stuff. Door pins on the drivers side, most likely a bit of driveshaft work, alignment, tires changed, oil drain plug fitted with oversize, and fluids checked/changed.

15 weeks! Jr. needs the windshield washer to work, power steering leak fixed, vibration/shake in the front end corrected, and maybe the shifter worked on a bit. Green needs an alignment, clutch works after being bleed but statrs going away quickly, front driveshaft rebuilt and lengthend, drivers door pins replaced and door aligned, rough idle on start up-bad injector or head/intake gasket maybe, new plugs, 33's put on. Both need oil change and fluids topped off

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We are planning to camp maybe near the half track on Sunday night. Some guys are bringing trailers and we think that might be a decent place for a base camp.

Monday, 23rd, we are planning to go in and drive to the end.

Tuesday, 24th, we plan to start back out. Most of the filming will be done going out so it will take us longer. We have two days slotted to get back to the half track.

Wednesday, we plan to finish the trip out and go to HC for showers and supplies, then back to the half track to camp.

Thursday, we plan to visit the fort and pick up the trail again. We plan to run it from the fort all the way to Bluff. Then back to the half track for camp.

Friday, we plan to finish whatever we haven’t done between the fort and Bluff.

For now, I think that’s the plan. Hope to see you there. We are expecting a rather large group.