July 24 - On Sunday we departed the Buckboard Crossing CG in Wyoming and transferred to The Lucerne CG in the Ashley National Forest, just over the Utah State line. Lucerne CG is a national forest managed campground within the Ashley National Forest, along the banks of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir (about 30 miles south of our previous campground at Buckboard Crossing). As such the campground has 50 Amp electric service only at the campsite, but has water, sewer dump, and bathrooms with showers available within walking distance, and it is a very pleasant, clean and spacious campground with excellent vistas of the reservoir. The campground also has a resident herd of antelopes, ground squirrels, chipmunks and others which roam comfortably within the campground. The Ashley National Forest is located in northeastern Utah and Southern Wyoming and encompasses 1,384,132 National Forest acres (1,287,909 in Utah and 96,223 in Wyoming). Of the total acres, 276,175 are High Uintah Wilderness (180,530 additional acres of High Uintahs Wilderness is located on the Wasatch and Cache National Forests). Elevations on the Ashley National Forest range from 6,000 feet to over 13,500 feet, as will be evident in our photos of the Red Canyon and Flaming Gorge. Ashley National Forest received its name from another early explorer, General A. H. Ashley. The imprint of Ashley's party is still evident in the names of Bridger Valley named for Jim Bridger; David Jackson for which Jackson Hole is named; Etienne Provost, for which Provo River and the City of Provo is named; and William Sublette for which Sublette County, Wyoming was named. This is a land rich in the history that made this country what it is today and we feel privileged to explore it ourselves.
On our first night at Lucerne we had a sky lit up with stars like Christmas lights at the Griswolds (in the movie ‘Christmas Vacation’) but unfortunately we were also surrounded by families with children camped around us and with their campfires burning as well as the children playing with flashlights (aimed at us) our night vision was impaired to see much of it. Luckily, apparently they were there for the weekend only and left on Monday, leaving the campground quiet and orderly for the remaining nights.
July 25 - The next morning, Monday, we opted to return to the Red Canyon and go to the Dam and explore the rest of the canyon that we still had not seen. The Flaming Gorge Dam was impressive, and though not as large as some of the others in the area, it was larger than others. We just viewed the exterior scenery from both sides and visited the Visitor Center to view a video of the Dam and of the Ashley National Forest, and all it entails. We got more great photos and also drove with Edith (our 2015 Ford Explorer tow-vehicle) to Spirit Lake, an untouched jewel in the middle of the forest’s unbeaten path, named a Scenic Backways route (down a dirt road, unmaintained in winter). Next to the lake there is also a campground and a lodge. The area is flooded with motorized four-wheeler ATVs and what seemed like very rustic camping (mostly trailers and tents, though some older motor homes as well) due to the nature of the road to get there. On the way back we managed to add a wolf sighting to our wildlife portfolio. The photo is not as clear as we would have hoped but as we saw it about 500 yards away by the time we were able to pull off the road, unbuckle ourselves from seat belts and take the photo he or she was over 1000 yards away, and that was the best shot we managed.
Scenes from our vsit to Flaming Gorge Dam
Scenes from our Second Visit to Red Canyon (& Lodge)
There are a multitude of different birds in the Red Canyon and they are aware
that they are well fed at the Lodge, so they come and amuse the
patrons during their meal at the restaurant.
There are many beautiful wildflowers too.
The low hanging vapor are not clouds. They are rain droplets that are falling from the clouds, but the air is so dry that often they evaporate before they can be felt by anyone standing beneath them. At other times just a fine mist of rain is felt. When it rains it usually does not last long. However, in the Gorge more often than not rain storms are preceded, accompanied and followed by very strong winds. This afternoon it blew 34mph with gusts up to 55mph for about 3 hours, of and on, so we had to close our slides and lower the coach off the hydraulic jack levelers.
Some crevasses are about 4 feet deep. Others are often 300 - 500 feet to the bottom.
Not being bothered by altitudes or fear of falling, I thought I
would make Mary nervous standing on the edge of a 550 foot drop.
Vastly contrasting natural beauty of the landscape
Scenes from the road to Spirit Lake.
Open Range Wooly Bully at Sheep Creek on the way to Spirit Lake.
A wolf we caught in a field, but it was 500 yds when we first saw him/her,
but about 1000 yds by the time we stopped, got our cameras and took a shot.
Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Good night everyone.