June 9–10, 2019

Fruita was getting increasingly hot (it’s the desert, duh!), so we decided to skip Moab, UT and swing back around next spring when the weather’s cooler.

Instead, we headed north toward Jackson Hole, WY with a brief stay-over at the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in the northeastern corner of Utah.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area near Dutch John, UT.

We opted for the back roads on the way up, which took us through Dinosaur National Monument and rewarded us with breathtakingly beautiful views. We’ll definitely come back and visit next fall when the weather’s not so hot.

When we arrived, several signs let us know that controlled burns were underway, which is a common sight this time of the year in the west.

It was super cool watching the helicopters drop water on prescribed burn areas.

Fortunately, steady winds blew the smoke from these burns away from us. We opted to stay in the area and scored a gorgeous spot at the top of the canyon for the night, complete with bighorn sheep sleeping next to the RV (listening to their steps at night was fascinating!), epic views, and supreme silence.

We initially thought we’d remain in the area for a couple of days, but we awoke the next morning to thick, caustic air. Apparently, the winds had shifted overnight and socked smoke into the surrounding cliffs.

We waited it out for a bit, but with no signs that the winds would shift in our favor, we decided to pack up, say goodbye to our animal friends, and head north, even though we had already pre-paid for another night. Oh well, we’ll just chalk that money up to a donation to UT state parks!

We awoke to smoke-filled hills after our first night in Flaming Gorge, UT, so we continued our adventure north.