Dec 26 2012

After Thanksgiving Swell Trip

San Rafael Swell Rock Art X
Black Friday & Saturday, November 23-24, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

After spending most of Thanksgiving Day at home it was time to get back out exploring again. Normally I take at least a few trips throughout the year to the San Rafael Swell, but I guess I was too preoccupied with the Paria Plateau this year since I still hadn’t made it out there. I decided it was time to at least make one trip out to the Swell this year, so that’s where I headed. I left well before sunrise on on Black Friday and was still surprised to see so many cars park at the mall that early as I drove out of town. I still can’t imagine getting up that early to try and get a deal among a large crowd of people, I’d rather spend my morning catching a sunrise in the desert. I spent the daylight hours of Friday and Saturday exploring, hiking and photographing rock art sites. I revisited a few sites and searched for some new ones. I spent the night at a hotel in Green River so I didn’t have to drive all the way back home on Friday night. Though many of the sites I visited were in the San Rafael Swell, I also made a side trip or two into the Book Cliffs and other areas outside the Swell. Here’s a few photos from my two days of exploring…

One of the new sites I visited this trip was the petroglyph panel near Mussentuchit Flats. When I first arrived, most of the panel was in direct sunlight, except for this narrow section, which happened to be one of the more interesting parts. As soon as the sunlight struck this section, it was almost impossible to see these figures.


Mussentuchit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The fading Butch ‘Casady’ inscription under a shallow overhang.


Butch Casady by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Cracked mud in the early morning light.


Cracks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’ve searched for this Barrier Canyon Style figure before without success, so I was happy to come across it this time.


Top Half by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Faded red pictographs and handprints.


Three Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Faded petroglyphs and red pictographs.


Faded by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A nice Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel that I missed on a previous visit. Glad I was able to find it this time.


Inventory Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Pictographs above water, an uncommon sight.


Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A beautiful Fremont panel in the warm afternoon light.


Rainbow Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Dec 10 2012

Fable Valley

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

On Saturday morning I was up and driving towards the Abajo Mountains well before the sun was ready to come up. My destination for the day was Fable Valley. I wanted to squeeze in a quick dayhike before snow would make the roads impassable and I wouldn’t be able to return until the spring. I had heard there was a specific pictograph panel I’ve been searching for hidden in the canyon and I hoped to find it this year.

There were some clouds and storms in the area as the sun came up. I happened to be driving in Indian Creek Canyon at the time and stopped to take a few photos.


Morning Storm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Great spotlighting.


Bridger Jack Spotlight by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Indian Creek Canyon Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Nice Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Still some nice light as I started up Cottonwood Canyon.


Cottonwood Canyon Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Cottonwood Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I made a quick stop at this boulder containing some Ute petroglyphs. The last time I was here the light was terrible. This stop made up for it.


Ute Boulder Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Rain or snow in the distance as I drove around the head of Salt Creek Canyon. I hoped these storms would stay away from the roads I was on, since things can get slippery very quickly.


Morning Storms by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Jul 26 2012

The Elusive Horse Canyon

Saturday & Sunday, July 14-15, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

I first tried to explore Horse Canyon in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park back in 2008 when I camped at Peekaboo with a few friends. Back then the entrance to the canyon had been washed out pretty good and there was a very deep hole blocking vehicle entry. For the past two years I have been checking the condition of the road so that I could finally get back there to start exploring the area, but both the Salt Creek and Horse Canyon roads have been washed out and closed for that long. I have hiked up Salt Creek Canyon twice during those two years, but Horse Canyon was a bit too long for a day hike. A few weeks ago I finally received word that the National Parks Service had finally reopened the roads in Salt Creek and Horse Canyon, so I quickly made plans to get back. I reserved a campsite at Peekaboo for the weekend and invited Jared and Marty to come along.

After work on Friday, I drove down to Cottonwood Canyon and setup camp so that I would be close to Canyonlands in the morning and wouldn’t have to do much driving. There were a few rain showers in the evening, but the precipitation stopped before I went to bed, and I had a great night of sleep.


Good Morning by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the morning I had a little time to photograph this ruin high up on the canyon wall. I have driven by this site many times and had not been able to find it before. It would have been a long hike up to reach it, but unfortunately I didn’t have the time this morning to try. I will have to return again to climb up to the ruin for some closer photos.


High Tower by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After photographing the tower, I continued my drive into the park where I met Jared and Marty at the Needle’s Visitor Center so that we could get our permits and the combination for the lock on the gate. Jared transferred his camping gear into my Jeep and parked his car at the trailhead before we continued through the locked gate into Salt Creek. The drive through the wash was in soft sand as usual, but the debris that had blocked the road in May had been removed. It was nice to be able to avoid this mosquito-infested area by closing the windows of the Jeep 😉 The deep holes that had blocked the entrance to Horse Canyon had also been filled in a bit. We drove through the holes and brush that was growing in the road and continued up Horse Canyon, where we would be spending much of the day searching for ruins and rock art.

We almost missed the remains of a tower near the mouth of the canyon. Good thing Marty spotted this one after we had passed it.


Watch Tower by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Jared checks out a very small granary that we spotted and climbed up to. The interesting part about this site is how the ledge in front of it was built out in order to make it larger. I can’t recall seeing this done anywhere else?


Built Ledge Granary by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We almost missed this nice granary even though it was practically right next to the road.


Jeep & Ruin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the ruin.


Horse Canyon Ruin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Soon we reached the large arch known as Paul Bunyan’s Potty.


Paul Bunyan’s Potty by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We found a route up the sandstone ledges that took us right under the arch so that we could try to visit the ruins and rock art hidden up there. Unfortunately, I was stopped stopped about 20 feet below the final ledge because the climb was just too steep for me. Jared, on the other hand, was able to make it to the final ledge to check it out. Here’s Jared climbing the final pitch.


Jared Climbing by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a view out from where I stopped climbing just under Paul Bunyan’s Potty.


Overcast View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a photo from as high as I climbed of one of the ruins I was trying to reach.


Paul’s Kiva by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were also a few other smaller ruins up there that I could see, plus many red handprints and some white dots on the back of the large alcove. You can see them all in this photo if you look closely.


Upper Ruins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Jun 16 2012

Salt Creek Exploring & The Drive Home

Memorial Weekend in The Needles | Day 3
Memorial Day | Monday, May 28, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

After another night of great camping weather we had some breakfast and set out hiking so that we could visit the Flying Carpet Panel. We also explored a few small side canyons before hiking back out to our vehicles near Cave Spring.

This is one of my favorite Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panels, but unfortunately I haven’t made it here in good light yet. Maybe next time…


Flying Carpet Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s Jared taking a photo for some scale of the figures painted here.


Jared and the Carpet by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another panel of pictographs nearby.


One Arm Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s one more photo of the ‘Flying Carpet’ that I liked.


Flying Carpet by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way back to camp, either Jared or Brian (I can’t remember which?) spotted this large ‘bullseye’ petroglyph high up on the canyon wall. It appears to be comprised out of small triangles if you look closely. We didn’t climb up to it and I didn’t have my long lens with me, so this was the best photo I got.


Bullseye by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A small yellow anthropomorph with a few faded handprints.


Yellow Anthropomorph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A couple white anthropomorphs with a pair of red handprints.


White Men by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After photographing the white figures above, I spotted a few very vivid white pictographs on the opposite side of the canyon. They were large and easy to see, so I quickly hiked their direction. The first one I came across has a very unique design that I don’t recall seeing before.


White Cross by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I liked how the large crack in the sandstone kind of leads up to the pictograph above.


Cracked Shield by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I hiked over to the next large white pictographs I came across a few sections of handprints, including these that are laid out in a grid.


Checkerboard Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The next set of white pictographs I came across were pretty cool, too!


White Circles by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Jun 14 2012

Devil’s Kitchen to Peekaboo

Memorial Weekend in The Needles | Day 2
Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

After a good night of sleep at Devil’s Kitchen we spent the rest of the day making our way over to Peekaboo for the night. Of course, we made some other stops along the way.

I woke up just early enough to catch the sunset on some of the surrounding needles from the Devil’s Pocket.


Devil’s Pocket Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I was hiking back towards camp, I caught Jared up on top of some rocks at the Devil’s Kitchen.


On Top by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once the sun was up I returned to camp for some breakfast and then did some exploring of the outskirts of Devil’s Pocket with Jared and his brother.


Exploring by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we got back from our morning hike, we packed up camp and then started the drive back out through Devil’s Lane.

On the way back we took the side trip to the Confluence Overlook. I love the look of the two different colored river’s meeting here.


Confluence by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Soon we were driving back over Elephant Hill. The Tacoma had a little trouble getting up this tight switchback, but after a little maneuvering he was able to get up.


Spinning by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr


Tight Turn by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After we finished the drive over Elephant Hill, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center to check on the status of the road out to Peekaboo. As I had figured, it was still closed. Since we had permits to camp there, we decided to backpack in.

After a few miles of hiking through the sand and avoiding mosquitoes, we finally reached Peekaboo and setup camp. We knew we would have the place to ourselves since our group had permits for both campsites located there.


Peekaboo Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once camp was setup we visited the nearby pictographs.


White Shields by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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