Finding the Trailhead - not always easy.
They say [and you know how omniscient "they" can be] that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In our case the road to Moab, around to the northeast side of the LaSal Mountains and winding up to the TH in Beaver Basin was paved with our best intentions. Those intentions were to climb Mt. Waas and Mt. Peale in the same day. The intentions were honorable and good, but we came face to face with reality and ended up climbing them successfully but on back-to-back days. This is how it played out.
Our goal for the first day was modest: get to the Mt. Waas trailhead in Beaver Basin. Our drive to the turn on to highway 191 at the Colorado River just north of Moab took a scant 3+50. After twenty-five minutes of scenic cruising along the Colorado River, flanked by the stunning red rock plateaus of the river basin, we took the right turn to Castle Valley.
Head toward Castle Valley.
Fifteen minutes later we stopped to take a picture of a sign for the LaSal Loop Road, a road which we would bypass.
Don't take the LaSal Loop Road.
After climbing and then descending on the east side of a broad pass we spotted a sign for Gateway, CO, and nearly 3 miles further down the road we at last spied the sign leading us into the Beaver Basin. Hey, we were getting there without being lost or even temporarily disoriented.
At last, the turn off for the TH.
Exactly 1.6 miles of travel on an unimproved but decent dirt/rock road brought us to a level area on the left and a vault toilet on the right. Almost immediately after passing this location the road splits, the left fork descending toward Don's Lake while the right fork leads you across a dinky stream and then up. We drove far enough on the right fork to decide that we had certainly passed the best available camping site, the one back near the restroom.
So we turned around and settled in at the aforementioned level spot. We
Car camping on a level spot. Not bad...
noticed that a group that had been here before had left a huge fire pit at the east edge of the level area. We pitched our tent, set up our lawn chairs (car camping allows you to bring lots of amenities you would otherwise be forced to leave behind) and prepared our mouth-watering Mountain House dinners. In the shadow of the LaSal Mountains the temperataures dropped rapidly, and we retired to the distant blaring of bugeling male elk. Our intentions for the morrow were now clearly set: we would get up and break camp, drive up as far as the lumpy road would safely allow, and hike Mt. Waas.
Day 2 - Finding and hiking Mt. Waas
This work is still in progress. I have been having trouble finding the time to give adequate time for the description of our climb. Short story is, we made it the following day and had enough time to drive through Moab and around to the pass below Mt. Peale. We camped there and got up early the following morning, climbed Mt. Peale, hiked back and drove home to Salt Lake City. It would be a noteworthy effort to hit both Mt. Waas and Mt. Peale, two separate Utah county highpoints, in the same day. Perhaps an extended ridge run might be the best option...
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