Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hidden Diamonds in Monticello, Utah!

Pack up your vehicles with camping gear, gather the family and/or friends together and head on up into the Abajo Mountains overlooking the town of Monticello, Utah. There be diamonds up yonder!!!

The cool water of Monticello Lake reflects like diamonds in the bright sunlight. A soothing breeze flows throughout while nature enjoys life in this scenic vista.

Publicly owned by the Manti-La Sal National Forest, access to Monticello Lake is unrestricted and there are many areas set back in the trees for primitive camping. Dalton Springs is 2 miles east and has 16 campsites, picnic areas, drinking water and vault toilets; user fees are charged. Buckboard, 1 miles east, is more primitive and has 13 campsites.

Besides camping, take advantage of the many trails for hiking and ATVs.  Some trails are unmarked, so don't be surprised if you come upon hidden Indian ruins.  Look, take photos, but please don't touch as these are sacred grounds.

This area of the Abajo Mountains also has two other lakes.

Loyd's Lake, a reservoir constructed back in the 1980's which offers a walking path around the lake itself; and camping areas.

...and Foy Lake, 14 miles west of Monticello, located 8350 miles above sea level within the mountains itself. This is primarily a fishing lake and there are a few camping areas nearby.

Surrounded by this wonderful forest land and its spectacular views (the above photo is overlooking Monticello itself), it is surprising to know that, only a half hour drive away from Foy Lake, is the desert and the road that leads to Newspaper Rock and the Canyonlands.

The main fish available at the lakes is Lake Trout, and being a food blog, I would be remiss in not giving you a recipe for this delectable edible. If you're camping and using an open fire for cooking, trout can be fried up in a pan, or use the pan as a mock oven by wrapping the fish in heavy duty aluminum foil.

Clean off any scales from the body, trim off the fins, and slit open the body underneath. Clean out the entrails and wash thoroughly with cold water. A simple seasoning mixture of salt, ground black pepper and dill can be sprinkled inside and out. While cooking, squeeze lemon juice over the fish; or, if using the wrapped with foil method, add the juice before sealing. Cooking time should be 10-15 minutes depending on the method used. Trout meat is white, firm and sweet tasting; the cheeks are a treat and the cooked eyeballs a delicacy.

So enjoy the diamonds found upwards from Monticello, Utah; and all nature has to offer.

Mary Cokenour

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