The Dragon Wagon

The Dragon Wagon
The landscaping changes often.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Valley of the Gods

After driving up to Muley Point, we headed down to the Valley of the Gods loop road.  This 17 mile unpaved road between UT-261 and US-163 passes through one of the most scenic areas in southeast Utah.


The Valley of the Gods Road wanders through an area south of Cedar Mesa where a series of canyons have eroded away most of the rock layers underlying the mesa, leaving behind some spectacular formations.



The Valley of the Gods B&B is close to the west end of the loop road.




One name for this formation is Balanced Rock.



Seen from another side, Balanced Rock is also called Lady in the Bathtub.



Some of the boulders look they could slide off at any time.



Does anyone else see Winnie the Pooh with his hand in the honey jar?



Setting Hen Butte




Castle Butte



An amazing landscape










The view about 2 miles north of the town of Mexican Hat



The town was named for this nearby rock formation.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Moki Dugway and Muley Point

Another trip we took from Goulding's RV park was to Muley Point on the southern edge of Cedar Mesa, via the Moki Dugway.


At the beginning of the drive, we passed some classic Monument Valley formations.




The southern edge of Cedar Mesa in the distance



Approaching Cedar Mesa on Utah State Route 261,
Muley Point is on the far left.



To get to the top of Cedar Mesa, UT-261 climbs up the Moki Dugway. The Moki Dugway is a steep, switch-backed, unpaved road that was carved into the face of the cliff.

Looking down from near the top of the Moki Dugway



Highway UT-261 and the Valley of the Gods road far below



The sign at the top appears to have become a favorite for visitors adding stickers.



Near the top of the Moki Dugway, an unpaved road leaves UT-261 and leads 5 miles southwest to Muley Point.


Looking towards Monument Valley from Muley Point



Looking down into the Goosenecks of the San Juan River




Looking to the northwest along the San Juan River drainage



Scenery of the mesa top at Muley Point






An extremely scenic boondocking site!


Goulding Arch

We spent a few days near the end of March at Goulding's RV park in Monument Valley, Utah.  One day during that visit, we took a short hike to visit Goulding Arch near the campground.


Looking towards Monument Valley from the beginning of the trail



Looking back to Goulding's RV park in its spectacular setting



The arch is not visible from the campground and comes into view during the hike.





Looking out from beneath the arch


Central Arizona - March 2020

While staying near Cottonwood, Arizona, we took a drive through the red rock country surrounding Sedona.  The remnants of a recent snowfall still were visible at higher elevations.  Here are a few images from that drive.










Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sabino Canyon

Although we had been aware for several years of the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, we finally got a chance to visit last Saturday.

We were treated with a very nice sunset the evening before.



While many people hike on the many trails in Sabino Canyon, another way to see the canyon is on their new electric trams.  You can ride the tram, get off at one of the tram stops and get back on another tram sometime later.




The canyon is an amazing place of rugged canyon walls and cacti.





There is also a stream running along the canyon bottom.




The Cottonwood Trees were just leafing out.




There was enough moisture for this Ocotillo to put out leaves.  It will shed its leaves in drier conditions to minimize water loss.



We also saw a number of different wildflowers.






Thursday, March 5, 2020

Chiricahua National Monument - 2020

After leaving Alamogordo, we spent a couple of nights in Willcox, Arizona, so that we could revisit Chiricahua National Monument in south-eastern Arizona.

Chiricahua National Monument is an amazing wonderland of rock formations.






Looking across Sulphur Springs Valley to the Dragoon Mountains



A very colorful lichen palette



Interesting bark pattern



Three Rivers Petroglyphs - 2020

Another area that we wanted to revisit near Alamogordo was the Three Rivers Petroglyph site.  This is a BLM managed site about 30 miles north of Alamogordo which has over 21,000 petroglyphs carved into boulders along a basaltic ridge with estimated creation dates between about 900 and 1400 AD.


Looking towards the ridge containing the petroglyphs



Looking east from the ridge to Sierra Blanca Peak



While not totally pristine, the vast majority of the site is undamaged with a few exceptions.



A few motifs were often repeated.

Concentric circle designs were very common.






What appears to be birds were also common.






What appear to be bighorn sheep






Various geometric designs







There were also faces or masks.





While the meanings have been lost, it is fun to make some guesses.

Rattlesnake?



Fish?



Bear paw?



Roadrunner with snake?



Others are just mysterious.






This panel is one of the most famous from this site.