Saturday, July 12
The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries Bridget, Spike, and me down the dirt forest road along the great meadow that is the magnificent, front yard of our camp. A bright blue sky, clear except for fluffy white clouds, signals that it’s a great day to see Flaming Gorge for the first time.
I point the PTV northward on Highway 191.
Two miles and we stop at Lodgepole Campground where I fill up the drinking jugs with water from the shared spigot. It being a Saturday, the campground is jammed. I shake my head. People pay for this while we have privacy, peace, and a beautiful view at our camp for free!
At Greendale Junction, I take Highway 44 west.
A sign says “Greendale Overlook.” Well, we’re tourists today. Gotta’ stop and take a picture!
Bridget barks frantically. “No, you can’t get out here, baby. I’ll let you out in a little while.”
I’m pleased that there isn’t much haze this morning.
On the way, we stop at Greens Lake.
“This is a good place for you guys to have a little enjoyment.”
I put Bridget and Spike in their black suits and walk them on-leash along the edge of the small lake. Two birds in trees on opposite sides of the lake alternately squawk to each other.
We pass the entrances to Greens Lake Campground and Canyon Rim Campground.
I’ll take a look at them on the way out. Right now I want to see the Gorge!
I park the PTV in the Visitor Center parking lot, crack the windows, and say goodbye to the crew. Inside the Center I’m drawn to a room filled with light. I say hello and smile at the gentleman at the reception area and walk to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Oh, my! Isn’t that a beautiful sight! Wow!”
I go outside for a better look and to take photos. The intense blue of the water looks like a solid floor. I’m here at the perfect time. No dark shadows and clear light!
In order to perceive the depth of the canyon (as much as that’s possible!), look at the tiny green dots on the opposite side in the photo above. Those are trees.
Thank God in all His heavenly glory, the path is on THIS side of a four-foot high, chain-link fence. I grasp the fence tightly, not only to steady the camera, but also to steady me!
This scene is to the southwest with Red Canyon out of frame on the right.
Books, maps, souvenirs, geology displays, taxidermy of wildlife and so forth. I don’t watch the movie, being mindful of the crew waiting in the PTV.
Well, that’s Flaming Gorge. Amazing!
The crew and I will remain at “Field of Flowers Camp” for several more days.
It’s an excellent base camp for exploring the southern end of Flaming Gorge. I expect to take more photos of the Gorge from a different viewpoint within the next few days.
On the return to Highway 44, we cruise through Canyon Rim and Greens Lake Campgrounds ($18 reg./$9 senior pass). The man at the Visitor Center told me they aren’t utilized as much as the campgrounds over near Dutch John. I can see why… very little shade and mostly tent sites or short sites, and primitive. Not much demand when free, spacious, secluded, beautiful, dispersed camping is plentiful in Ashley National Forest a short distance away!
We continue westward on Highway 44.
I want to take a look at the Sheep Creek area. After driving several miles, the terrain becomes more — how shall I say? — more challenging.
Change of plan!
A glance at the Utah Benchmark Atlas and I decide to take us to Brownie Lake instead.
The road is dirt and in fairly good shape. It winds through scenic countryside. Spike barks at the free-ranging cows crossing the road ahead and grazing alongside of us.
All along this drive I look for possible campsites for us. I don’t see anything that would warrant hauling the Best Little Trailer all the way up this road. Also, the closer we get to the campground the more ATVs meet or pass us.
By the time we reach Brownie Lake, I’m convinced I don’t want to camp there.
The water level is low, leaving a muddy shoreline. People and dogs hang out in the day use parking lot. I hear a gunshot (or maybe it’s a firecracker) over by the campground.
I don’t bother to get out of the PTV.
I take this photo from the driver’s seat.
I circle the parking lot and head back the way we came.
Dark clouds in mid-afternoon are typical. They’ve dropped rain in brief showers on our camp for two consecutive days. Our route home takes us away from the clouds in this photo.
Oh well, Brownie Lake Campground is not for us. It doesn’t matter. There are plenty of places to camp, places far nicer than any campground, in Ashley National Forest.
I enjoy the scenery all the way back to our camp.
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