Nov 18 2012

Along the Dolores

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

It was one of those days that I just needed to get out hiking and exploring by myself, so that’s what I set out to do. Last year around Christmas I had planned to hike along the Dolores River near Bedrock but got a severe headache on the drive there and had to turn around and head back home. I hadn’t made it back that way yet, so I thought it would be a good time to try again. After leaving home and driving through Unaweep Canyon to Gateway, I then followed the Dolores River to Paradox Valley and turned off at the dead-end road by the Bedrock store to the boat ramp. One day soon I want to float the Dolores River from the Big Gypsum Valley to Bedrock and wanted to check out the takeout. After leaving the boat ramp the road I was on got a bit rougher, but I managed to drive a little ways further until I reached and area that was completely washed out. I parked my Jeep there and continued along the river on foot. The hike was easy and for the most part since it followed an old road that hadn’t been drivable in quite some time. After a few miles I reached a few boulders with petroglyphs on them that I had hoped to find.

On the back of the main boulder there were a few faint bear paw petroglyphs next to some nice lichen.


Bear Paws by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The front of the main boulder had a bunch of faded petroglyphs that have been vandalized over the years.


Petroglyphs & Graffiti by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Triangle body with big hands.


Long Arms by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Two more paw prints.


Prints by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After checking out the petroglyphs and thoroughly searching other boulders in the area for more, I continued my hike along the Dolores to it’s confluence with La Sal Creek.

Look closely and you can see a reflection of the canyon towering above.


Dolores Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I reached La Sal Creek I searched the area for rock art and tried to continue my hike up along the creek. At first there was a faint trail through the thick brush, but it soon disappeared. I was faced with the decision to either bushwhack my way up the canyon or turn around and head back. I wasn’t really feeling like bushwhacking at this time, so I turned back.

On my way back I decided to check a few more boulder for petroglyphs, and I’m glad I did. I ended up finding this large boulder with a layer that looked like petrified mud which had small tracks all over it. If you look closely at the photo below you will see at least nine of these tracks. From what little online research I have done, it appears that these are possibly small dinosaur tracks.


Circle of Tracks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’ve seen plenty of dinosaur tracks in sandstone before, but what was really unique about this site to me is that some of the tracks were still filled with the layer of sandstone that was deposited over them and helped preserve them. This is something I have not seen before, and it helps me really visualize the process in which these tracks were preserved and then revealed again. The photo below shows this well, and I have included my hand for some scale.


Track Size by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hiking back along the old road towards my Jeep and Paradox Valley in the distance.


Old Road Hiking by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Oct 26 2012

Flag Point

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 4
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

Since there weren’t really any good places nearby to photograph sunrise, we slept in a little later on Tuesday morning. After a little breakfast we packed up camp and took the rough Jeep road to it’s end where we would start our hike. Our destination for today would be to the top of Flag Point in the Vermilion Cliffs of the Grand Staircase. Jared and I had wanted to try this hike last year, but were unable to squeeze it in. From what I understand, most people that have made this trek hike up from the base of the cliff and are able to find a way up, however we thought that we would try to hike from the backside. It was probably a longer hike, but it involved less steep climbing.

The view towards Kanab from the top of Flag Point.


Flag Point View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After visiting the point we started hiking along the rim in search of a dinosaur track site.


Rim Hiking by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Jared taking a photo looking back at Flag Point.


Leaving Flag Point by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After hiking a bit and searching we eventually found the awesome dinosaur tracks.


Dino View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There are a few in this photo, but there were plenty more scattered around this area.


Tracks Over the Edge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s two deep tracks that are located under the tree pictured above.


Deep Tracks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An obligatory foot-next-to-the-dinosaur-track-for-size photo. I wear a size 15 boot, in case you were interested…


Dino Print Size by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After a little more searching nearby we found what I was really looking for on this hike. As far as I know, this may be the only pictograph depicting a dinosaur track! I wonder what kind of myths the Native Americans had about the tracks found at this site, especially since some of them appear to head right off the edge of a 1,000+ foot cliff?


Dinosaur Track Pictograph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Mar 21 2012

Amasa Back

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

After spending the last two weeks in the Chicago area, and not having been to Moab in almost a month (February is one of my favorite times to hike around Moab since the weather is usually nice and there aren’t any crowds yet), it was time for me to get back out into the desert for a long hike alone. I left home in the morning without any particular destination in mind, but by the time I reached Moab I had decided to hike out onto Amasa Back following the Cliffhanger Jeep Trail. This is actually one of the few Jeep trails around Moab that I have not driven before, so it was nice to finally be able to check it out.

A short way into the hike I found a small and faded petroglyph panel.


Cliffhanger Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Before continuing to Amasa Back I decided to stop an revisit the amazing Owl Petroglyph Panel nearby.


Owl Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I also searched the area to find these very interesting petroglyphs that I had missed before.


Lines & Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Lines by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This lone figure was carved in the sandstone high above what may have been a structure at one time.


The Watchman by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hiking out to Amasa Back. Jackson Hole is at the bottom of the drop-off to the left.


Amasa Back by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I found a few pictographs along the way including this red shield figure. If you look very closely to the right of the pictographs, you can see there are a few faint petroglyphs here, too.


Amasa Warrior by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were great views of the La Sal Mountains and Behind the Rocks areas from up here.


Fins & Mountains by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Oct 19 2011

Straddling the Border to Toroweap

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 2
Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

After an awesome night camping under the stars in perfect weather near Little Black Mountain, we were up early, had a little breakfast and were soon on our way back into Utah. Our ultimate destination for the day would be Toroweap on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but we would have a lot of exploring to do on our way there.

After entering Utah again, we quickly found ourselves in Warner Valley. As we headed east, we took the short detour to Fort Pearce which is located along the old Honeymoon Trail.


Fort Pearce Heritage Site by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Of course, our first objective at the site was to find the petroglyphs located near the fort. They were easy to find and the area offered a nice view.


Fort Pearce Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the petroglyphs on the slanted boulder.


Fort Pearce Boulder by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After hiking down into the wash and finding some more petroglyphs and historic signatures, we went back up and visited Fort Pearce. This small structure is one of only three remaining stone guard posts built during Utah’s Black Hawk War. The “war” was actually period of intermittent raiding between 1865 and 1870. During this time period the Ute Tribe, led by Chief Black Hawk (Antonga), and other Native Americans allies attempted to drive the Mormons from the Ute traditional homelands.

To protect their herds and homes, local Mormon militia constructed a series of protected guard or sentry posts, called ‘forts’, along major trails and travel corridors in central and southern Utah. Four to six armed men with horses were stationed at each post, to attack and delay the Indian raiding parties, while a rider raced to the nearest settlements with a warning. Fort Pearce Wash was one of the primary routes along which Ute-Navajo horsemen traveled to raid the livestock herds and settlements of the St. George Basin.

No armed conflicts are known to have taken place at Fort Pearce, but the guard post was manned, at least intermittently, from 1866 until 1873, when peace negotiations and U.S. Army actions ended the raiding that was known in Utah as the Black Hawk War.


Fort Pearce by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Next up was a stop at the Warner Valley Dinosaur Trackway. There were a lot of tracks here….both large and small. Apparently, there are estimated to be about 400 tracks in the area, though many are covered with sand. Here are some of the better and larger tracks found at the site.


Dino Trackway by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Paleontologists cannot tell what specific dinosaur left a track, but they can be tied to a general group of them. Two types of tracks have been identified here belonging to the Grallator and Eubrontes groups, tracks ranging from 10-16 inches and about 7 inches respectively. Here’s a closer look at a few larger tracks.


Dinosaur Tracks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s my foot for a little scale. I wear a size 15 shoe.


Size Comparison by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

From Warner Valley we headed further north to Hurricane. This photo was taken along the way.


Red Cliffs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Soon we were heading south towards Colorado City and Arizona again. Just before reaching the state line we turned off to visit one more site in Utah….Canaan Gap. I wasn’t planning on fining too much at this site, but we were pleasantly surprised to find many interesting and unique petroglyphs here. These are some of the most interesting because of how deep they are. I do not believe that they were originally carved this deep and that they have eroded out over the years to become deeper…..but I might be wrong about that? However it happened, it’s a pretty cool site!


Canaan Gap Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a closer look at the right side of the panel I posted above.


Canaan Deep Glyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Aug 30 2010

Laccolith Tour | La Sal Mountains

August 21-22, 2010

Since Amanda had to work this weekend and I didn’t want to travel too far from home, I headed out to explore the La Sal Mountains as part of my Laccolith Tour this year. I have been to the La Sals a number of times before, so I have driven most of the main trails, so my goal this trip was to explore some new ones. From my house I headed up Unaweep Canyon to Gateway and then took John Brown Canyon up into the foothills of the La Sals.

Before getting started on my first trail, I stopped along the Castleton-Gateway Road and found some dinosaur footprints that I knew were in the area.

The best print

One filled with some dirt with the other one in the background

Overlook near the dino prints

My next destination was to check out the trail on Fisher Mesa. This one had been on my to-do list for a while…..

Along the trail I stopped and made a short hike to a geocache that was hidden near an old cabin on the rim of Fisher Mesa

Great view from the old cabin

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