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Thread: Southern Utah Wanderings 2010
10-12-2010, 08:22 PM #1
Southern Utah Wanderings 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010 | Day 1
On Saturday morning I left Grand Junction and headed into Utah. I made my way through Green River and Hanksville before reaching Capitol Reef. My destination was Escalante, but I would be getting off of the pavement for a little bit on the way. I took the Scenic Drive past Capitol Gorge where the pavement turned to dirt. With all the storms Southern Utah had seen this year, I wasn't sure if the road was going to be washed out or not, but I got lucky and it wasn't too bad. There were a few rough sections, but nothing a high clearance vehicle couldn't handle.
I was treated to a great display of colors on Boulder Mountain in the distance
Soon I reached the pavement again and headed south through Boulder and then on to Escalante. I met my friend Jared at the BLM visitor center where we got our camping permits for the next few nights, bought a few books and then transferred his gear into my Jeep. We grabbed some lunch at the Golden Loop and then dropped off his car at the Boulder Mail Trailhead. I gassed up the Jeep before heading down the Cedar Wash Road.
Our first stop along this road was a short hike to the Covered Wagon Natural Bridge.
A large alcove we walked through on the way
Covered Wagon Natural Bridge
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10-12-2010, 08:22 PM #2
From there we traveled a few more miles down the road and stopped to see Cedar Wash Arch.
Cedar Wash Arch
Continuing on our way towards the Hole-in-the-Rock Road we encountered a Subaru parked in the middle of this one lane road, with no one around. I got out of the Jeep to investigate and see if anyone was near, but as I approached the vehicle I started to hear gunshots down in the wash below me. I decided to get back in the Jeep and we found a way to get around the vehicle. When we reached the Hole-in-the-Rock Road we took a right turn and headed south to the Dry Fork turnoff. We went past the trailhead and found some nice campsites. We setup camp which would be our home base for the next couple of nights.
Once camp was setup we got back in the Jeep and made our way over to Chimney Rock for sunset.
Jared checking out some of the older inscriptions carved into the saandstone
After the sun was down we headed back to camp and sat out under the only star-filled night we would have on this trip!
Sunday, to be continued....
10-12-2010, 08:23 PM #3
Sunday, October 3, 2010 | Day 2
Before I get into our Sunday adventures, I wanted to bring up a strange incident that occurred in the middle of the night. At around 3am we started to hear a loud buzzing sound coming from far south on the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It was the kind of buzzing sound you would hear coming from an ambulance, fire truck or a police vehicle. We saw headlights in the distance that were slowly heading north. As this vehicle got closer we noticed that it was shining a spotlight to the side of the the road on occasion and it also set off a siren twice, but only for a second or two. We assumed it was a police/sheriff vehicle, but why was it constantly buzzing it's siren? Was it looking for someone who was missing, or was it trying to warn us of an approacing storm that could wash out the Hole-in-the-Rock Road? This continued for over an hour until this vehicle was near our campsite. I was temped to drive out and find out what was going on, but I didn't. Eventually it passed our campsite and went behind a ridge that finally blocked the sound from disturbing us, so we went back to bed. Of course, an hour later we were awoken again by the same vehicle coming back south! This time I was able to fall back asleep and am not sure how long the buzzing sounds continued....
After getting some more sleep we still managed to get up for an early start and headed down into the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch after some breakfast. Our destination this morning would be the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons. There were some storm clouds north of us towards Escalante and some way at the southern end of the Straight Cliffs, but the area above this drainage was still clear. On our way down into the canyon those clouds provided us with a couple of rainbows to photograph.
Double Rainbows & Balanced Rock
Nice bright rainbow when we reached the wash in the canyon
Next we made our way up some narrows in Dry Fork and reached the entrance to Peek-A-Boo.
Dry Fork narrows
We got up the initial climb into Peek-A-Boo pretty easily, but that is where we then ran into the toughest section. We could not climb up the steep slickrock into the next pothole. After some unsuccessful tries (and scraping up my elbows and knees on the sandstone) I ended up having to take a running start at the wall using momentum and my long legs to get up to the next level. Luckily that worked for us or we might have had to turn around. I was then able to help Jared up.
Jared climbing up into Peek-A-Boo
After the previous difficult section we continued up the slot without too much difficulty. Of course we took our time taking plenty of photos as well.
Jared photographing the two arches near the beginning of the canyon
Small arch and twisted passage
10-12-2010, 08:23 PM #4
When we climbed out of the top we headed over to the next drainage and checked out Spooky. Spooky was not very difficult, but is was much narrower for longer stretches and carved deep into the sandstone. There was not as much light in Spooky, so photos were difficult in places.
Lighter section near the beginning of Spooky
Jared ahead of me
Darker and narrower
Jared squeezing through
Taking a short break
10-12-2010, 08:24 PM #5
Near the top of Spooky
After poking around in Spooky a bit we headed back down Dry Fork to the mouth of Brimstone Gulch. We slogged through the sand of that canyon a little ways, but soon decided to turn around and head back to camp for some lunch instead of continuing up to the narrows.
Jared plays on a sand dune in Brimstone Gulch
After having some lunch and relaxing at camp for a bit we hopped in the Jeep and slowly started heading towards Sunset Arch for our sunset hike. On the way we stopped at the Batty Pass Caves and also took the side roads to Red Well and Fortymile Ridge.
Jared photographing one of the Batty Pass Caves
Inside one of the caves
After exploring the side roads we started our hike to Sunset Arch. On our way we stopped at Moonrise (Sunrise) Arch.
Jared photographing Moonrise Arch with Sunset Arch on the horizon in the background
10-12-2010, 08:24 PM #6
We arrived at Sunset Arch just in time for a nice sunset. We took a bunch of photos until the sun dipped behind the Straight Cliffs.
The typical Sunset Arch photo at sunset
Some different angles....
Jared climbed up on the arch
Closer view through the arch. Navajo Mountain and Fiftymile Mountain in the background
After the sun was down we hiked back to the Jeep and drove back to camp for the night. We were lucky and missed out on storms in the area this day!
Monday, to be continued….
10-12-2010, 09:24 PM #7
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- Mar 2010
Great TR! You've hit spots I've always missed after dozens of trips along Hole in the Rock! I appreciate the ideas....I always go up Spooky and down Peek-a-Boo partly because of the problems you had!
10-12-2010, 09:40 PM #8
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- Jun 2010
Wow. Awesome TR. I want to go to there."Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
10-13-2010, 06:33 AM #9
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Wow! Fantastic scenery and great trip report!
10-13-2010, 07:45 AM #10
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- May 2010
So many things I've passed right by, time to get back out there!
10-13-2010, 10:03 AM #11
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- Jan 2008
- St. George
DOUBLE RAINBOW!!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN???
Awesome TR! Nice pics!
10-13-2010, 01:05 PM #12
***ENTER to Win a Canyoneering Kit from Bogley***
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10-13-2010, 07:43 PM #13
Monday, October 4, 2010 | Day 3
OK, before I get started on Monday's trip report, it appears that my memory may be incorrect and I jumped the gun on Sunday's trip report. Jared has informed me that it was the night before Monday that we had the vehicle driving down the Hole-in-the-Rock Road that woke us up with it's constant buzzing sounds. So instead of fixing the previous report, I'm just going to insert this correction here. Now onto Monday!
Monday morning we woke up to rain. We had a quick breakfast inside the Jeep to stay dry. The sky to the south looked clear, so we headed in that direction to hike down Willow Gulch to Broken Bow Arch. When we arrived at the Willow Gulch trailhead we got lucky and the sky was indeed clear here with the sun shining....so we grabbed our backpacks and headed down canyon.
Mortar Board Rock
View into Willow Gulch as we descended
A short ways down Willow Gulch we headed up a side canyon and found some petroglyphs.
There were quite a few petroglyphs, but most of them were fading away pretty good. After taking some photos we continued on to Broken Bow Arch which required some bushwhacking along the creek.
10-13-2010, 07:43 PM #14
Broken Bow Arch was pretty impressive when we reached it
We spent some time around the arch and then started heading back. A few photos from along the way...
When we reached the Jeep the weather was still holding out so we headed up the Sooner Slide onto Fiftymile Bench to try and spot some ruins from the road. We were able to find both ruin sites, but they were both too high for us to try and climb to.
Spot the ruins (look for the square door)
Another ruin on Fiftymile Mountain
Unfortunately, while we were up on Fiftymile Bench the clouds rolled in opened up. It rained pretty good on us. We were hoping to head down the Willow Tank Slide but the road on that side was way too saturated and the mud/clay had no traction. We headed back over to the Sooner Slide and luckily I was able to drive down slowly and carefully. We made it back to camp where it would pretty much rain all night and into the morning.
Tuesday, to be continued….
10-13-2010, 08:04 PM #15
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- May 2010
Dooood! More awesomeness everytime I open this thread.
10-13-2010, 08:47 PM #16
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- Jun 2010
Loving the pictures in this thread. Looks like some pretty large rock fall off that Broken Bow Arch. Gotta get back down south again.
10-13-2010, 10:15 PM #17
The gostak distims the doshes.
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- Oct 2006
- Monticello, UT
10-14-2010, 09:15 PM #18
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | Day 4
Tuesday morning we were stuck in our tents until there was finally a short break in the rain. It had rained pretty much all night and we were a bit sick of camping in the rain. During that short break we took down and packed up camp....just in time for the rain to start up again.
Our view during the short break in rainfall as the sun was rising....The Straight Cliffs in the clouds
Ready to take down camp
Our drive back to Escalante on the Hole-in-the-Rock Road was a little adventure. The road was pretty saturated and flooding in places, but we were able to make it back to the highway. I later found out that the Hole-in-the-Rock Road had washed out in places and was closed by the county. When we made it back to town we went over to The Prospector Restaurant for some breakfast (which was pretty good), and to figure out what we were going to do next. We checked out the weather forecasts for a number of Southern Utah destinations, and it appeared that many of them were getting hit with storms, rain and flash floods. Moab only had a 30% chance of rain and was currently sunny, so we decided we would head that direction.
After breakfast we had to go see if Jared could retrieve his car from the Boulder Mail trailhead which had become muddy from all the rain. Luckily with his snow tires and some momentum, he was able to drive it out of there and I didn't need to get out a tow strap. We fueled up and hit the pavement on our way to Moab. When we started climbing Boulder Mountain we entered a thick fog and noticed there was a thin layer of snow on the ground. I pulled over and took a few photos of the aspens through the fog.
As we made our way towards Hanksville we noticed the Fremont River was flowing pretty high and all the normally dry washes were flooding. Between Hanksville and the Goblin Valley turnoff there was a section of the highway that was flooded and covered with an inch or two of sand. Before reaching Moab we turned off on UT 313 towards Canyonlands Island in the Sky district and setup camp at the Horsethief campground. Once camp was setup we headed over to Aztek Butte. This hike was high up on both of our to-do lists. We climbed up the butte and took some photos of the ruins and arches as another storm rolled in on us.
Jared getting his flash ready
Arches & Ruins
Since it was raining again, we decided to head into town for some dinner instead of trying to have dinner out int he rain at camp. Jared suggested Miguel's Baja Grill which was pretty good. We then headed back to camp for another rain-filled night.
Wednesday, to be continued….
10-14-2010, 10:00 PM #19
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- Feb 2009
- Felton, CA
Loving this report, Randy! Great shots and a very fun read. Thanks for sharing!It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life... or death. It shall be life. - Ten Bears, "The Outlaw Josie Wales"
10-15-2010, 07:35 AM #20
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