On Sunday (4/16) we left Bluff and drove north a hundred miles to Moab. The drive up US-191 is very scenic, with the snow covered La Sal Mountains coming into view in many spots along the way.
It didn’t take us long to settle into our site in Portal RV Resort, a beautiful (but expensive!) park just north of town. The park is divided into two sections. The first section is the campground, a normal RV arrangement with narrow gravel sites. Drive through the campground and you enter the “resort.” This section has very wide concrete sites that are owned by individuals who place them into a rental pool when the owners are not there.
During the first couple of days here we took some time off from the hiking trail to do some “normal” activities – hair appointment, new tires on the Jeep, etc. One of our first exploration activities was a drive out a dirt road to check out a large arch. Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) had driven this route last year and it looked interesting. So we headed south on US 191 for about 25 miles and turned west on to Looking Glass Road, a well-maintained dirt road. After just a few miles we came to a very large sandstone rock formation. As we drove around it, we looked back and spotted Looking Glass Arch.
We pulled into the parking area on the west side of the formation and headed up the slickrock to get up close and personal with the arch.
We climbed back down from the arch and hiked around the rock formation to see it from the east side. From there we could see some climbers up on top. We waited a bit, hoping that they would repel down, but a descent didn’t seem imminent.
After circling the rock formation we got back in the Jeep and continued west on Looking Glass Road. Soon we came to an interesting couple of rooms built into a rock wall.
We couldn’t find any information on these two one room abodes, but some old furniture in one of them indicates that someone lived there once upon a time.
Driving further west we came upon Rockland Ranch. A small community of fundamentalist Mormons, about 15 polygamist and monogamist families, have established a unique home for themselves there, living in modern homes literally carved into the side of the massive sandstone Hatch Rock in the desert.
Rockland Ranch was founded about 35 years ago by Robert Dean Foster, who set out to create a safe, remote space for a Christian community that embraced plural marriage. Large houses were built by using dynamite to blast caves into the sandstone cliff, then finished into relatively modern homes. The community is entirely self-sufficient complete with running water, electricity, internet access, and a working farm. It also houses three and a half years worth of pickled and jarred food for seven families (adding up to about 100 people including all the children) in case the apocalypse strikes (better safe than sorry!).
We turned around at Rockland Ranch and headed back toward Moab. As we headed east we were treated to a great view of Looking Glass Rock from the west side.
David, Karen, and Cody have joined us in Moab and are staying in the campground section of Portal RV. We have a number of “outings” planned with them during the two weeks we are in town. We’re still way behind in the blog but will be working hard to catch up, so look for more blogs coming real soon.
More on that later . . .