Updated on June 24, 1999.
We were staying for one extra day at Tex's RV Park in Green River so we could take a look at Flaming Gorge, at least from the top. We got directions from the office on the best route to take to see the Gorge, along with a strong suggestion to take a good look at Sheep Creek Canyon.
The next morning we headed south on WY530 to visit Flaming Gorge and its environs. The first stop was at the Flaming Gorge visitor center in Green River. There the relief map showed us what we would be looking at. The lake is 90 miles long; here you only see some of the lower part of it.
The first part of the trip was a continuation over the semi-arid lands of Wyoming. There were rolling hills and clouds in the sky. In the distance we could see the snowed covered tops of the Uintas Mountains.
Finally from the top of one hill we could see bits of the lake in the distance. There were still 50 miles to go before we would reach the lake.
And finally we did come over a rise and saw the lake. We drove down a side road to the Lucerne Valley campgound and boat launch, and there we saw several antelope grazing on the grass of the campground. I took a picture of mom and her kid. They seemed to be aware I was there but paid little attention to me.
Dad was not so amused. He didn't wait around long, but headed back into the brush. His family took off at the same time.
Next we headed back to the main road and drove into Manila to take UT44 south. A little further down the road we dropped down into Sheep Creek Canyon and after a pit stop, headed up a side road to the Geological Area.
As we drove deeper into the canyon, the sand and limestone walls rose around us and the small creek crept closer to the one and a half lane road. We drove into the box canyon and stopped at the picnic area for lunch. It was a delightfully peaceful place.
There was one sad note. There was a placque to a family of seven who had perished in a flash flood in the area a few years back. It was not an area to be camping when major rains hit.
Wolf decided he wanted my chair. That way he had a better look at the food on the table. He enjoyed the outing very much.
I took a number of pictures of the area. The warping of the formation was amazing, with parts of the bedding turning almost vertical. This was the heart of the overthrust that had created the Uintas Mountains to the south.
The various layers of the formations were visible. Here you see some of the reds that gave Flaming Gorge its name. This is in the same box canyon area of the picnic grounds.
We drove part way up the road out of the box canyon to get a better perspective, then turned around and headed back towards the main highway.
As we drove back down the road the clouds in the distance looked rather ominous, but they held off dropping any rain on us until later in the day. They did add some interest to the sky in the pictures
Springs flowed out of the rocks above the road and added to the creek. The water in the creek looked rusty, and it must have picked up the color of the rocks that were the source of the water. The water did support a good growth of vegetation within the channel.
The Tower Rock was a major attraction along the way. It was a picture taking opportunity, and an opportunity to stretch my legs.
After coming out of Sheep Creek Canyon, we drove up the side of the mountain and stopped several places along the way to take pictures of the gorge and the lake. Here, looking out from the mouth of the canyon, you can see the clouds that were building over the lake.
We continued further and further up into the terrain around the lake. For a while it seemed we would leave the lake entirely, then we came over the crest and head back down. After a while the surface leveled off and we were driving over plateau country. It was almost as if there was no Gorge around.
We turned off at the Red Canyon Overlook road and drove about two miles to the north, finally coming to the Overlook Campground. From there we walked out to the edge and admired the lake, 1700 feet below.
There were turkey vultures nesting in the rocks just below us, and we could hear the chicks squawking for food, but I never did get a good picture of the parents flying in and out of the nesting area.
They warned about traipsing around the edge of the cliffs and into the cracks. This was where the edge of the canyon was ever expanding its size. Some of the cracks were significant in size.
Finally taking one last look at the reds of the canyon in the sun and shadow, we headed back to the main road. When we reached US191, we turned east towards the dam. We did not stop to tour the dam this time; we will come back and do that sometime in the future.
As we headed up out of the gorge, we could see the clouds building more and more to the north, back towards home. I drove on and on up the road. As we climbed further and further up the sides of the mountains around Clay Basin, the road was making sweeping turns around the sides of the mountains and in and out of the hollows. The result was a 55mph road that was constantly turning. I did not realize it until we topped out onto the plateau just how tiring it could be to constantly hold the truck in a turn either one way or the other, but the view was expansive.
On top, the road followed the edge of the broad canyon north towards Rock Springs. We caught up with the rain and at times it pelted down on us. At last the truck got the washing it deserved.
We finally came down to I-80 between Rock Springs and Green River. The rain had stopped, but the clouds hung around and the wind was blowing. Alice took the opportunity to make phone reservations for our next stop in Casper, and then we drove on into camp and at last, collapsed in our traveling home.