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Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 1: An Afternoon of Slot Canyons and Hiking Behind the Reef.

April 8, departed Salt Lake City in a rain/snow mix hoping for better weather, as I was part of a planned expedition of adults and youth from our church to Goblin Valley State Park. We were worried about the weather, but to our great relief the weather got better as we went East towards Price. In fact once we got there we had essentially no rain whatsoever the entire trip until we returned to home.

If you want to skip reading this and go straight to the photos click here.

Upon reaching the turnoff from UT-24 we left contact with civilization and headed Northwest toward the San Rafael Swell. In my several visits here I do not remember any Antelope, however we found a group of them by the side of the road grazing. This was the best shot of the lot.

After setting up camp, George and I quickly headed out from the State Park and to the Little Wild Horse Trailhead. This is one of my favorite places to hike in the area, and truly a spectacular slot canyon that is really quite accessible, though it is getting a few more large rocks washed in each year. It has changed quite a bit since my first hike in it in 2009. This tree amazes me, It has to get washed against on a regular basis by a copious amount of water, yet it stands firm.

This is one of the first areas of narrowing, it gets progressively deeper and rougher as you go. The sensuous curves of the sandstone, and the delicate layering of eons old sediment is fascinating.

This part leans a bit, and I find it quite awkward, it is truly amazing to me how the path of least resistance sometimes leads to beauty, and sometimes elsewhere.

Here is smiling George, enjoying the day! Sad to say it was kinda fun to be there without the youth, it is very easy to enjoy yourself when you are not herding 14-16 year olds who think they are invincible and bulletproof.

Typical of the lower canyon, wider areas immediately downstream from a narrow section, it fascinates me how the water and wind can carve the stone into fantastical shapes and textures.

This is a large and new boulder that has been washed in. It is 4-5ft tall and probably weighs over 1,000 pounds, glad I wasn't there when it was being washed in. This was taken with my Fisheye lens, so you can understand the field of view, from corner to diagonal corner is 180 degrees, so from my foot to the sky goes from straight down to straight up. It is narrower than it appears.

I have seen the gap under this rock go from just a couple of feet 2 years ago too...

Nearly 6 feet. Amazing how the canyon changes.

Don't remember this rock pile either.

Twisty doesn't even begin to describe what this place is.

Boo! Yeah people put the rocks there, I put one, the other was already there.

Easy parts, but still beautiful.

The upper canyon just begs to be photographed.

The old Juniper and Cedar trees last a long time after they die, the strange patterns of the wood fascinate me.

I reworked this several times. I think I finally got it right... maybe....

I liked how this head looked kind of like a skull of some dinosaur, the contrast with the other rock also strikes me as well. There is more than one tone of rock there, and the differences are often spectacular.

This face is a little more happy, don't know why I never noticed before that there were a lot of these around.

Spotting this around several turns as we were descending Bells Canyon provided much needed anticipation of blue sky. We truly enjoyed our glimpses of the sun and sky.

Another of our friendly cottonwood trees in the river bottom, how it has survived this long I don't know. You would think that flash floods would have taken it out long ago.

George and I went down the road to Ding Canyon, a smaller spot that I have wanted to see since I did part of it a few years ago. What a blast! It is more straight forward and less twisty, but like a slap in the face on a cold morning, just a bit refreshing.

This is what is called a "Keeper Pothole" If you get in you don't get out, thus you are kept. Doubt I would drink the water unless I had to but it is good to know it is there in a moment of desperation.

In Upper Dang Canyon, there were some unbelievably large rocks just hanging out... literally.

We had a great time, but got really sore, we hiked for almost 8 hours straight. I walked like an old man honestly.... guess it is about time I started acting my age.

1 comment:

bluekat said...

Amazing landscape, and great photos. What a fantastic place to explore.