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I now host galleries of my favorite photos @ Feel free to surf over there to see photo's that may have drifted into the darkest reaches of the archives here on Blogspot.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

40 Mile Ridge and Coyote Gulch Area

After exiting The Dry Forks, we made a quick stop at Dancehall Rock, this natural ampitheatre hosted many dances during the time the pioneers were chipping and blasting the Hole In The Rock down to the River.

Camping on the 40 Mile Ridge Road was an adventure of wind and sand, we camped next to the warning signs that keep the riff raff off the road and out of the Gulch. Taken with the last light of the day. A very good day.

The early morning light revealed the marks of the nocturnal denizens of the desert. A large black beetle that was simply too ugly to photograph left footprints everywhere. And the small lizards also were in evidence. The early morning light creates textures unseen in the harsh light of high noon.

An early start led us to the trailhead, and off in the distance to the confluence of Coyote Gulch and The Escalante River. The sand just beyond this early easy stretch of gravel boded of the effort involved in getting back to our vehicle.

The top of the bluff showed a magnificent vista of Navajo Pinnacles and the long sandy trail to the bottom of the gulch. Note the crack on the bottom of the photo, this is your route down to the dune. Those with larger packs than my Camelbak M.U.L.E. need to bring rope to lower them down otherwise they don't fit. This spot is just as tight in places as Spooky gulch was the day before.

This unnamed fin marks what was likely a bend in the river millenia ago, but is now just a guardian on the trail. The old riverbed covered with hundreds of feet of sand.

Oh the sand.... simply stopping on the way down demonstrates how soft it is, feeding our trepidation at having to come back up it, tired and in the heat of the day.

In color you can see the rich reds of the area, that simply boggle the mind.

Old landslides testify to the forces that shape the area. I have no desire to be in the area at the time something like this happens. They are best left unwitnessed.

The sand was invasive to say the least, my Asolo Hiking boots kept the sand away from my feet, my brother was somewhat less successful at keeping the sand out. And no, this was not staged.

Swapping to a sandal for the walk in the gulch is a good idea, you are walking in a perennial stream for most of your time in there. It is a good idea to cleanse your feet of sand prior to ascending the "Death Sand" as we called it. Allowing the sand inside your boots is somewhat akin to putting emery boards in there along with your socks. And achieves the same level of destruction on the feet of the unwary.

Waterfalls both medium and small abound, some more difficult than others to scramble around. Especially with several thousand dollars of camera equipment in your pack and around your neck.

Turning around when we felt it prudent, to preserve our energy and water supplies (forgot to bring the filter pump......) we trudged back up the Death Sand, finding the welcome shade to be blessedly cool and allowing us the ability to recover and ascend the crack and make it back to our vehicle.

The adventure section of our trip over, it was now time to get back closer to civilization.

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