Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 6

Thursday, October 8, 2009 | Starting Odometer: 144703

This was an indecisive day for me. My original plan was to head back to Bullfrog and take the ferry across Lake Powell. However, I did not feel like going that far out of my way, and I also knew Amanda would probably like to join me for a ferry trip sometime in the future, so I decided to skip it. That left me with a big empty gap in my day. What would I do? I had always wanted to check out the Flint Trail and the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, and I wasn’t that far from there…. So it was decided, I would take the Hans Flat Road to the ranger station and then descend the Flint Trail and make my way to Hite. This would give me a good overview of the Maze area so I could plan a future trip there with Amanda.

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I was on the road before sunrise, as the distance between UT24 and Hite via the backroads was 107 miles and I had heard it was a rough ride that would take all day. After filling up at the Hollow Mountain Gas Station in Hanksville, I headed north and turned off on the Hans Flat Road just short of the Goblin Valley turnoff. This was a wide gravel road that was fun to drive on at some higher speeds. I was at the Hans Flat Ranger station in just under 1.5 hours…..about 42 miles of dirt roads. I was making great time so far. I stopped at the ranger station and had a nice chat with the ranger to gather some information to help me plan a future trip (hopefully in the spring) to the area.

Long way to Hite
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Sun coming up over Little Flat Top
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After leaving the ranger station, I travelled across the top of the Orange Cliffs on my way to the Flint Trail switchbacks. I made my way down the switchbacks, where I found their steepness and narrowness had been greatly exaderated, and continued on the long dirt roads towards Hite. There was some great scenery along this trail.

Orange Cliffs
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View down on the Flint Trail switchbacks
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Leaving the Orange Cliffs behind
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Headed back towards the Henry Mountains
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Cool thin wall between Rock Canyon and Andy Miller Flats
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When I reached Hite, I stopped to fuel up before continuing east on UT95. It was getting close to lunchtime and I wanted to find a spot along Lake Powell to stop for lunch. Luckliy I passed the turnoff for Blue Notch Canyon which would take me to the shore of Lake Powell for lunch. Blue Notch Canyon also offfered some nice scenery along the way, too.

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Lake Powell visible in the distance….looks a lot closer than it is….
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I liked the way the clouds looked here
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Getting closer…
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…and I’m there!
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After lunch I headed back to the highway and headed east again. I turned off at the entrance to Natural Bridges National Monument, but that wasn’t my destination this time. I would follow a gravel road through the Bears Ears and onto South Elk Ridge which would take me to Blanding off of the pavement.

Castle Butte
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By the time I reached Blanding I was was hungry and tired again. I was planning on heading back to my favorite campsite in Comb Wash for the night, but I was not feeling like camping at that point, so I ended up getting a hotel room for the night in town.

Ending odometer reading: 144942 | Total Miles: 239


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