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The Blues: The Western Mountains of the Colorado Plateau

Monticello College is situated on the eastern slope of the Blue Mountains or known locally as the Abajos. Part of the Colorado Plateau, these mountains are a welcome respite to the daunting desert of  CanyonLands National Park.
Hiking Adventure #1 [Rt. 5086]
(3 hours of rough terrain – difficulty level 6 on a scale of 1-10)
My son Ben and I began our first summer hike of 2011 looking for the source of a small stream on the northwestern side of The Blues, near Shay Ridge. What began as a little morning rock jumping exercise turned into a magical transportation into terrain and foliage akin to the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest where I grew-up. I have done Zion National Park, the Narrows overnighter and a number of other adventures in this part of the world, but I have never seen this kind of environment anywhere in this arid part of southern Utah.
We didn’t have the camera with us (whose idea was that?), so I promise to go back with both of my sons, take lots of pics and write an article on that awesome adventure. This blog is nothing more than a short photo journal showing a shorter side trip along the ridge at the opening of the western side of the same canyon accessed by road 5086.

Enjoying the refreshing wonders of Foy Lake.

A good shot of Shay Mountain on the northern side of the Blues.

Canyonlands National Park is to the north, east and west of the Blues. The La Sals Mountains near Moab are in the distance.

A lonely stretch of road below Foy Lake.

Here a typical arid high desert look just minutes from the lush greenery of Foy Lake.

30 minutes of hiking reveals very different terrain.

Scrub Oak and grasses are common at this elevation--density also increases.

A bird's eye view of our secret canyon. The valley floor is at 8,000 feet elevation.

Same canyon from the western ridge.

Ben coming down through the thick foliage.

These canyon drainages provide an easier path down the side of a mountain thickly covered with man-sized brush.

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