Thursday, June 1, 2017

My favorite walk in Mount Carmel Junction, UT

I loved this walk.  The first time I went, Don, Lyn and Larry were getting ready to go and invited me along.  It was actually right across the highway from our camping area.  Easy, peasy!  You just walk across the street, down the road toward the river, and follow the road until there's a kind of left turn.  As you walk the short distance on that left turn road, you come to the end, which is a tunnel.  Climb down, walk through the tunnel (bring a flashlight), and out the other end.  A short walk later you're at a wall with a little waterfall.  Really cool!

I think the story was that they needed to build a new road, and rather than moving the location of the road, they decided it would be cheaper and easier to just dynamite under the road and put in a tunnel, so the flow of water to the Virgin River would continue as before as it came down out of the hills toward the river.  So that's what they did.  And I think they moved and enlarged the road, too, but still right over the tunnel.

The first time I went, the four of us walked back out of the tunnel and down along the road alongside the Virgin River.  We got to a point where the river crossed the road, and we'd be wading in the river to get to the other side, so we stopped there.  (There's a ranch further along the road.)  We hung around for a bit, then turned around and walked back to camp.  Easy hike, really a walk, with some interesting things to see.  Wish I had brought my camera that time.

Larry noticed some strange things in the water at the edge of the river, they looked like thin rope pieces floating back and forth in the water.  We all checked them out and decided they were egg sacs.  When Don and I went back the next day, the egg sacs were still there, surrounded by tiny black specks - we thought they must be the eggs.  I should have gone back to that point again to see what happened with the eggs, but my next two walks down the road didn't go that far.

I took that walk four times in four days.  The first time I wasn't prepared, so didn't have my camera.  The next morning I went with Don, we walked along the river to where the road was under water and I got some Virgin River photos and the little black eggs.  Then the next afternoon I went back with Katie, but just to the tunnel entrance because I didn't want to lift her down to the tunnel floor by myself.  We didn't walk down the road further because of her arthritis.  The next time I went with Nancy and her dog, Dolly.  They are both great walkers.  I left Katie home that time, and we did the tunnel and part of the way along the river.  There was an unleashed dog down the road, and we decided to turn around when we saw him.  So each walk was different, and I loved every one.

The pictures I have below are all in order as far as the sights and locations go, but from different days, starting with walking down the road to the tunnel road, walking through the tunnel, going to the waterfall wall, heading back out through the tunnel again, and walking down along the Virgin River and ending up at the end of the road where it goes under the river - with the egg sacs and black eggs.  Four days combined into one.  Hope that makes sense.

Heading to the tunnel:

Here's Katie, checking out the area:

This is where you have to take a BIG step down to the tunnel entrance.  I didn't' want to lift Katie down, but when I went with Nancy and Dolly, I went down first and Nancy handed Dolly down to me.  That worked great.

Here's the opening to the tunnel:

On the ceiling right at the opening were a number of bird nests made out of mud.

Nancy took this shot of me - notice my big smile!  LOL  Actually she took a couple more facing into the tunnel, but I wasn't being very photogenic, so I scrapped those.

Here's the view as you start walking into the tunnel.  Looks like a huge intestine - sorry, you won't be able to get that visual out of your mind for a while.  😖

It's a short tunnel, but there is a dark portion, so it's a good idea to bring along a flashlight.  There are a couple of spots where you step up and over a raised part, and some loose rocks on the tunnel floor.  Plus, it's just cool to see.

Here's Nancy and Dolly - you can see the "light at the end of the tunnel" further on.

When you emerge from the tunnel, there's a short path to the end.  It stops with a wall that has a tiny waterfall.   Where else do you get a river, a tunnel and a waterfall in such a short walk?  (Every time I read this line I can barely hear lots of WINs' voices in my ears yelling all the different hikes they've taken where they saw a river, tunnel and waterfall in an even shorter walk.)

After checking out the water and rocks for a couple of minutes, we turned around and headed back into the tunnel:

Coming back out of the front of the tunnel this is what you see, a short little wash that allows water coming down from the waterfall in wet weather to flow through that large pipe and into the Virgin River on the other side.

This is the Virgin River, flowing along on a beautiful sunny day.  It goes all the way to and through Zion National Park.   Per Wikipedia: The Virgin River is a tributary of the Colorado River in the U.S. states of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. The river is about 162 miles long.

This is on the day I walked along the Virgin River with Don - Hey Don!  Turn around!

That's better.  :)

I never did cross the road under the river, but on a couple of the days I was there I talked to ATVers who were riding up and down that road, going through the water.  They were fun to watch.  Some were very careful when they got to the water, and some were Hell Bent for Leather, blasting through it.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess.  And one bad metaphor and one bad metaphorical proverb from me. (Had to look that up, I didn't know about metaphorical proverbs - what does that even mean?)

The second day Don and I looked for the egg sacs and found them.  They looked a little different, and were all surrounded by tiny black specks.  We figured those must be eggs.  The first photo is what the area looked like, and the second and third are close-ups.  We wondered what the eggs would hatch into.  Any ideas?

It was cold, and snowed a little on Thursday afternoon.  I was expecting rain, so I went outside to fold my chairs and put them under The Palms.  When I looked at my chairs, they had snow on them.  :(

The next morning, on Friday, everything was covered with frost.

It was COLD!  Actually, it was FREEZING! 

There's Lyn's Class C in the front, Don's trailer in the middle and Nancy's Lazy Daze in the back.  I'm parked across the road from Lyn, right behind where I'm standing to take this photo.

This was my indoor/outdoor temperature gauge, showing the outside temps a little before 9:00 am:

One of the things that's nice about being a full time RVer is that we have wheels under our homes.  I'm sure most of us have woken up in the morning and decided on a moment's notice that we're leaving.  That's what I did that morning.  I didn't mind the cold and lack of Internet or cell service for a while, but the WINs were heading north.  I was heading SOUTH.

I went to the morning meeting, said goodbye to everyone who was there, walked over to Nancy's motor home and told her I wasn't going to continue at this point, and was heading back to the Flagstaff area.  She and I had made plans, but...  I'm sorry Nancy.  I just needed some warm weather and familiar surroundings right then.

So off I went.  And that's where I am now.  Happily under pine trees, camped next to a lake just south of Flagstaff, AZ.  More from my new campsite next time.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  😊😎😘😊


  1. Some very interesting hikes you had and love that tunnel. Yes have wheels, keep moving, we don't need to deal with cold weather living this lifestyle.

  2. That tunnel is just amazing!! I've never seen anything like it!!
    It sure got cold on you. I think I would be heading for warmer weather too.

  3. That picture of the opening of the tunnel with the bird's nests looks like a side view of a hawk or eagle. One nest makes a perfect eye. See it?

  4. very excited walk! I love exploring caves and hiking in hard-to-reach places too


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