Was down in St. George this weekend for work and play and I thought I would start the process of getting the family ready for more overlanding adventures.
I would like to eventually do an over nighter, then a few days, leading up to a week long overlanding trip. The thing is, I knew I had to start small so instead of taking the wife and kids down on some 60 mile rock crawling adventure, like I could do with just me and the oldest kid, I decided to keep it tame and do a scenic backcountry route that could have been driven by a Honda accord, although slowly.
The Area of interesting is about 20 miles south west of St. George in the Beaver Dam mountain range off old highway 91. I grew up with my Mom telling me about how they used to have to take 91 to get to southern California before the pass through the mountains was cleared for I15. I Think the pass is amazingly beautiful, but it was fun to drive the out of the way, less used route. Our plan was to drive all or part of the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway, a 17.9 mile look taking you through a wilderness preserve and mining operations area and back to 91.
Its really just a graded road for the most part but the skies were clear and blue and the temps were just right.
The Joshua tree forest was interesting as its not common in Utah, being so far north, but the density of trees left a little something to be desired.
This Area is Geographically interesting to scientists because its the borderland between the Mojave and Great Basin environments, and as such you get both plant and animal species that are normally separated by geography.
Traveling from south to north we went through bulldog canyon/pass and onto the highlands of the beaver damn foothills overlooking St. George. There is a wash road that will take you into St. George from this road, but its was 30 miles long and would have added hours to our trip so we decided against it. That wash road is of particular importance to me as on overlander as its one of several key linking trails in an almost entirely off road southern Utah overland expedition. Starting in Nevada you travel through on the bunker pass trail to Indian springs to hell hole pass and then to 91, onto the Scenic byway and down to st. George via that road called Hollow wash road. This is a route I hope to work up to eventually, or at least that's the start of it. (it goes on to cross the entire state through several national and state parks)
The views on the high plains looking north and east are pretty great, but its still just the "ugly" part of this epic Utah tour I hope to do. Also part of my plan is to train another photographer to document my trips. As a video producer and hobby photographer I never get the pictures I want because I'm driving, or skiing, or biking and such and so I wanted to train up another person so I can focus on that task.
My current protege has a long way to go, as you can see, but she's pretty good all things considered.
I think there are 5 pictures out of 60 that are usable, but she has definitely caught the photography bug. It took us the better part of 4 hours to do the whole thing, including a picnic tailgate lunch but we all had a nice time.
Now, on to bigger trails!