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Mt. Ellen

Since I had a long weekend I decided to head up to the Henry Mountains and hike to the highest point and do a little exploring. This time I went up Sawmill Basin Road straight out of Hanksville. I first stopped at the old Wolverton Mill in Hanksville. It was an interesting stop and I think worth checking out. Afterwards I was driving straight for the mountain. It didn’t take long before the road started climbing towards the top.

Wolverton Mill

Sawmill Basin Road

View from quarter way up

I passed by the Lonesome Beaver campground and decided to skip it due to a few people already camped there and continued looking for another place to set up camp. As soon as we crested up to Wickiup Pass my transmission temp light came on so we pulled off and had lunch while the trans cooled down. Just after lunch it started to rain and we began climbing up to Bull Creek Pass. There were quite a few deer out and some were really nice bucks.

Bull Creek Pass

We soon found camp on Nasty Flat, same place last time I was there. I really liked this spot, there was a nice view to the West overlooking Capitol Reef and a view of the mountainside to the East to watch for deer. With camp set up, we drove down towards McMillan Springs looking for deer. The campground here had a couple trailers as well as loud generators running, glad we didn’t come here to camp. Then it was back up to relax at camp and get ready for bed.

Next morning, we had a good breakfast and then headed out out hike Mt. Ellen. The clouds were threatening rain so we were a little concerned about lightning. Pulling up to Bull Creek Pass there were two guys watching a herd of deer there. We talked a minute then set out on our hike.The trailhead is at 10,485′, and the high point the Henry Mountains is at 11,522′. We climbed up to the first little saddle and the wind had picked up and it began to rain. So we hunkered under a pine tree until it stopped raining and continued our hike.

Start of our hike

View to the East

View towards Boulder Mountain

We finally reached the top after about three hours. The climb up to the high point wasn’t too bad and after a short lunch, I had enough energy to go ahead and climb Mt. Ellen Peak just under a mile away from the high point.

Bull Mountain

Mt. Ellen Peak looming in the back

High point at 11,522′

Victory shot

Mt. Ellen Peak

Hiking down the saddle over to Mt. Ellen Peak is a drop of about 400′ and then another 400′ to the top of the peak at 11,506′. This part of the trail was the steepest section and definitely tired me out. The views up top were worth it though. While on Mt. Ellen Peak, I spotted two other hikers at the high point. They only made it to there and turned around.

Looking back to the high point

Bull Mountain from Mt. Ellen Peak

Two other hikers on their way back

The hike back up to the high point was an uphill battle but after that it wasn’t too bad heading down. A marmot came out and said hi and the wind had calmed down. We completed the hike in under seven hours.

Almost back at the trailhead

We stayed another night and the next morning headed out a different way. We drove out along South Creek Ridge Road and then down along Crescent Creek. We made a side trip to Barton Peak and then over to Copper Ridge Point. This road was in better shape than the Sawmill Basin Road. On the way out we passed several people on ATV’s. The road out to Barton Peak became more difficult after the mine turnoff so I ended up walking the last bit. Then while on Copper Ridge Point the dog decided to eat a bug sitting in a cactus and came out with a mouthful of needles. We got them all out but he was sore for the rest of the day.

Mt. Pennell

Barton Peak Road

Barton Peak

Mt. Hillers

View from Copper Ridge Point

View back at the mountain from Copper Ridge Point

We drove out along Crescent Creek and stopped at the two cabins along the road. Then it was out to Hanksville for an ice cold soda for the ride home.

I was glad the weather held out and only rained enough to keep the dust down. I hope to get back and do some more exploring around Mt. Pennell.

Photo Gallery

GPS Tracklog (Google Earth .KMZ Format)

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in 4X4, Camping, Hiking, Mountains, Outdoors

 

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Black Dragon Canyon Rim

On Sunday, we went for a hike on the San Rafael Reef to find a geocache that hadn’t been found since 08. The hike starts at the mouth of Black Dragon Canyon. The hike starts out immediately climbing up the reef. There isn’t a specific trail just pick your own path.

Our first stop was right above the indian writtings. This was a nice view from on top.

Afterwards we dropped into a small canyon that had a nice alcove with a small pool of water. Rocky isn’t a big fan of water but I made him cool down in the water for a second.

Then it was on to the top, where we found the geocache and took in the great view. We could see Mexican Mountain, Lower Black Box, and Window Blind Peak. It could have been better if it hadn’t been hazy.

Throughout the hike Rocky had been chasing lizards and near the end of our hike Rocky passed by a rock and a rattlesnake started rattling. I immediately yelled at him and grabbed him checking for a bite. Luckily he wasn’t bit. It sure did make me nervous afterwards and I kept a close eye on him for the rest of the hike. That has been only my second rattlesnake encounter.

This is definitely a cool weather hike. It was a little hot Sunday. It was in the lower 90’s but it was worth it.

Photo Gallery
GPS Tracklog (Google Earth .KMZ Format)

 

Crack Canyon

Sunday was planned to hike Crack Canyon. We left a little after 8 and headed for Temple Mountain. We passed many camps on our way down. Last time I hiked Crack Canyon, we parked near the main road and road walked in but today I drove the Taco all the way in. There was a small camp and another car at the trailhead. We only ran into 4 other people in the canyon.

Starting in

Cool Subway Section

The next section of narrows had a few obstacles to downclimb. They seemed a whole lot easier this go around.

Obstacle that stopped me last time

The next section of narrows was my favorite. They were deep and narrow but too short.

After the third section of narrows we should have turned around but we kept on going. The canyon widened and had a few sections of mini narrows. After getting to a junction we turned around and headed back.

The hike out seemed to get hotter and longer until we reached the narrows again.

Back at the truck there was a cooler with some ice cold Mountain Dew waiting for me. It was nice.

What a great hike. Enough challenge to keep the crowds at bay but not too hard to require ropes.

Photo Gallery
GPS Tracklog (Google Earth .KMZ Format)

 

Wild Horse Mesa

Took the truck out for a drive Saturday down to Wild Horse Mesa. The drive down was nice, I passed by a lot of campers getting ready for Easter and others just enjoying the weekend. I couldn’t believe all the people parked at Little Wild Horse trailhead. It surprised me even more to see a lot of cars parked at Ding and Dang. I stopped just after Ding and Dang trailhead to have lunch and get some photos.

After Ding and Dang, that would be the last time I saw anyone else until reaching Highway 24. The road through the wash was great but soon it climbed out and up top. It got a lot rockier and definitely required a high clearance. It looked to be storming all around me but I never did see a drop of rain. Which was good because the road heading towards Factory Butte would have been a nasty mess when wet.

The road drops down into the Muddy River valley near a neat old cabin. It has a great chimney and a second story. I stopped and explored here for a while and checked out the nearby corral.

The Muddy River crossing was next and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The road leading up to it was deep sand and required 4 wheel drive. There was a blm sign almost completely buried in the stuff. The crossing though was a piece of cake. The water wasn’t very deep but I left my truck in 4 wheel drive to make it up the small sandy bank on the other side. I even engaged the rear locker just to try it out. While engaging the locker I might have been quoting this line from Dodge Ball:

I started to hurry after the crossing because the road was the dirt that would become a slick snotty mess when muddy and the clouds were moving in closer. i stopped twice to find a couple geocaches and then I was out on US 24.

After getting to Hanskville, I had to stop at Hollow Mountain and buy a Mountain Dew just because it is such a cool place.

The ride out was uneventful and my new truck did awesome climbing up Spotted Wolf Canyon on I-70. I was glad I didn’t let the weather scare me away even though I did think about turning around once or twice.

Photo Gallery

GPS Tracklog (Google Earth .KML)

 
 

Saddle Horse Canyon

We went for hike in Saddle Horse Canyon on Saturday, to find a geocache that was beside a huge pinnacle. We first had to hike down into Salt Wash and cross a small stream into Saddle Horse. The hike down was tough, it was steep in places and trying to find the trail was hard. But you could tell there had been horses down this trail, I can’t imagine taking a horse down it though.

After getting into Saddle Horse the canyon narrows up and there is a small stream flowing. We even ran into a frozen section of the stream.

The canyon then widens up and you are presented with an awesome view of the pinnacle. We hiked through the sand and found the small geocache. We stayed for a while having a snack and just listening to the silence. Then the sky became overcast and the wind picked up.

If you enlarge, you can see a person standing next to it.

We then marched on out. Plan was to find another geocache. But with the wind and clouds, we decided to pass. The climb up was a pain but nice once we reached the top. While walking back, I came across a small plant growing in the trail. I reached down and broke off a sprout and sure enough it was an onion.

It was great to get out. It has been quite a while and it was definitely needed.

 
 

New Truck

Back in the first of February, I young teenage girl pulled out in front of me going down the highway. I smashed into the side of her truck she was driving which messed up my front end. My truck was totaled all I could save off of it was the camper shell and the nerf bars. I didn’t have a camera with me when this happened so no pictures. :-(

I was able to sell my shell and nerf bars to another black Dakota. As well as get some insurance money for my wrecked truck. So I had money to buy another truck. I knew what I wanted so I waited for a good deal to come up. It was mid March before I was able to get what I wanted. A 2005 Toyota Tacoma V6 with the off road package. The guy I bought it from had put new tires on it at the first of the year but needed a more family sized vehicle since he was going to have twins.

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I noticed the front skid plate was missing and the temp pod didn’t work. Other than that everything seemed to work great.

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I was going to change all the fluids Saturday but the weather didn’t cooperate so instead I fixed the temp pod. The solder had broken on one of the capacitors and just needed to be re-soldered.

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On Sunday I changed the engine oil, the diffs oil, the transfer oil, and the ATF. Afterwards I started building a skid plate. I was able to mock up one out of cardboard and copy it over onto an old aluminium road sign.

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I have many places i want to go in this truck and I can’t wait to get out and start wheeling.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Farnsworth Canyon

The weather was perfect Saturday for a hike. I decided to hike Farnsworth Canyon and then find a bunch of geocaches that was put out recently. The drive out was nice and I was hiking by Noon.

It doesn’t take long before this canyon narrows up for a while.

It doesn’t stay narrow for long and widens up for the rest of the way.

It was nice hiking through this part. There were lot of rocks with holes and weathered rocks. I knew there were Indian writtings in here but I didn’t know where, so I just kept my eyes open and eventually spotted them.

I walked further up canyon and came to the first drill hole and then a fallen down miner’s shack.

At the end of the canyon was another drill hole. There was some core samples nearby and an old Pepsi can. This is where I turned around and headed back.

The hike out was nice because the sun was getting low and the canyon wasn’t in direct sunlight. I spent a lot of time taking pictures and just enjoying the solitude. I even found a rock with what I think could be a dinosaur fossil but I am not sure.

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Getting back to the truck there was a cold Mountain Dew waiting for me and then it was on to find 30 geocaches. I was able to find 27 on the way back home. The geocaches were all near Old Dead Junipers and place about every quarter mile. It was getting old and was happy when I finally found the last one. It was a good day and it was nice to get out.

Link to more photos- Picasa Web Albums

Link to KML file- Fanrswoth Canyon

 
 
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