RSS

Category Archives: San Rafael Swell

Old Woman Wash

On Saturday, Dad and I went on hike to Old Woman Wash in the San Rafael Reef. To find a geocache that had sat since 2012 with only one find. I came across Udink’s trip report and he had hiked to some nearby pictographs that looked nice. He didn’t post exactly where the writings were but it gave me a general idea of where to start. We arrived at the trail head at 10:30 and began hiking. Instead of going up Old Woman Wash, we backtracked a ways to an old mining road that lead us into the reef.

Once we crested the hill, I knew the writings were somewhere in the valley. So we started scanning the cliffs and was able to spot the Ekker Panel. It was a neat panel with some faded pictographs and a few petroglyphs.

We then followed a side canyon that lead us down into Old Woman Wash. Here again I knew there was some petroglyphs in this side canyon, so I Kept my eyes open and I did happen to spot them, only after passing them.

Once in Old Woman Wash, I was able to spot another panel, High Alcove.

We then continued on up the canyon towards the geocache. There was a lot of water in the canyon today and a lot of little frogs. Every time we would stop we would be able to spot a few frogs hopping away.

We finally were nearing the end of our hike when we came to pool and a boulder obstacle to get around. Trying not to get wet we had to cling to the walls to get around the pool, almost falling into the water, and then the climb over the boulder wasn’t too bad. Due to the water I left my larger camera back but took a few photos with my cell phone. After finding the geocache, we continued up the canyon until it ended at a large dryfall.

The hike back out seemed to go more smoothly then our hike in and we was able to reach the side canyon we entered in good time. We then began to look for another rock art panel and was able to find this one as well. The problem was it was in direct sunlight and washed these faded pictographs out. There were even some old names carved into the walls nearby.

It was then about another mile back to the truck. Halfway out, we ran into three other hikers going to see the writings. The stroll out was an easy sandy wash bottom back to the truck.

After getting back around 4:30 we followed the road South as it paralleled the reef. We made it a short ways until we came across a washout. We didn’t feel like doing any digging so we backtracked to Hwy 24 and headed home.

What a great day, I found all the Indian Writings that I went looking for and hiked up a nice canyon. The weather was perfect and the trees were starting to change colors. In total we hiked about six miles in six hours but we took our time enjoying the great scenery.

Photo Gallery: Old Woman Wash

GPS Track: Google Earth KML

Advertisements
 
 

Grotto Canyon and Horse Heaven Arch

On Sunday, Dad and I hiked Steve Allen’s Grotto Canyon loop trail in the Northern San Rafael Reef. The Tidwell Draw road out to the trailhead was in rough shape. It was the worst I have seen it in. I had to use four wheel drive a couple times to get through washouts. But we finally got to the trailhead at 11:30. The trail starts out kind of unremarkable.

After a short distance it gets better and the canyon deepens.

Once it narrows up there was a pothole we couldn’t make it past so we had to backtrack and climb out of the canyon.

After climbing back in it narrows up again nicely. We stemmed over two pools but was stopped by a third but the end was within sight.

The narrows end at a large dryfall so we backtracked and climbed out. We then hiked past the dryfall and climbed back in the canyon.

Just after dropping in there was a leaning rock barely balancing on a small rock.

We headed up canyon for a short way, then climbed out and hiked North over to an old cowboy cabin.

After the cabin, we continued North into another canyon to see Horse Heaven Arch.

After seeing the arch we backtracked and headed down canyon. This canyon had a lot of potholes full of water.

There is one big dryfall but it is easily bypassed.

This canyon took us back to the trailhead and finished our loop. It took us 5 hours and was a bit over 5 miles long. The weather was perfect plus we had the area all to ourselves. Good day.

Photo Gallery: Grotto Canyon

GPS Tracklog: Google Earth KMZ

 

East Cedar Mountain

East Cedar Mountain has been on my list for a long time. I first read about it Michael Kelsey’s book. So finally I decided to give it a shot on Sunday. I drove down to Emery and then took the Miller Canyon road down to I-70. From there it was all dirt roads to Cedar Mountain. The drive in was nice, no traffic and fairly smooth roads.

I got to my desired parking spot and the wind was blowing really hard. I sat there debating whether to go or just ride around. I finally talked myself into doing it. The plan was to walk up the ridge line but staying on the South, just below the ridge cut the wind down quite a bit. The hike up was steep and lots of boulders. It took about an hour forty five to reach the top.

I wanted to go further but the peaks were steep and loose rocks all around. Plus huge dropoffs all around so I didn’t want to chance it and turned around. The hike down was quicker because I didn’t have to take as many rest breaks.

After getting back to the truck, I sat there and ate my lunch consisting of a salami sandwich and mountain dew. I took a different way home. I was headed for the Lonetree Crossing and Salt Wash. I did take a wrong turn once but it didn’t take long to figure out I was in the wrong spot. The bridge was a lot narrower than I thought it was going to be. After the crossing I drove down I-70 and through Buckhorn Draw to home.

It was a good hike but the wind was a nightmare. If I got out on the North side ridge it felt like I was getting blown off the mountain. Now I can scratch that off my to do list.

Photo Gallery: East Cedar Mountain

GPS Tracklog: Google Earth KMZ

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Desert, Hiking, Mountains, San Rafael Swell

 

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.