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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Aug 15 2012

Gray Canyon and the Island in the Sky

Saturday & Sunday, August 4-5, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

On Saturday I met up with Jackson and his family so that we could float a section of the Green River known as the Green River Daily. This section is a few miles long and located within Gray Canyon a few miles north of the town of Green River. There aren’t really any big rapids on this stretch of the river, especially at this year’s very low water flows, so we were just expecting a nice relaxing float with a lot of swimming to stay cool. I also hoped to find some new petroglyphs along the way.

After dropping off my Jeep at the Swaseys Rapid takeout, we continued in Jackson’s Prius to the put-in at Nefertiti. The last time I was on this road it had been freshly bladed and I don’t recall it being too rough, but unfortunately this time around it was a bit rocky and almost too much for the Prius. The most difficult part was through a few stretches of sand that he had to power through. Luckily, he somehow managed to get that little car to the end of the road without getting stuck or scraping up the bottom too badly. If he hadn’t, we would have been walking back to the Jeep and not getting on the river.

After reaching the put-in at Nefertiti, we got our boats setup under the shade of a large cottonwood tree.

Getting Ready by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Ready to get on the river for the day.

Ready to Launch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just around the first bend we paddled under the large Nefertiti Rock.

Below Nefertiti by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we neared the Price River, we found a place to stop so that I could search for some nearby petroglyphs.

Rock Art Stop by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The petroglyphs were easy to find and impressive.

Petroglyph Boulder by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Besides the main boulder pictured above that was covered in petroglyphs, there were also a few other glyphs scattered among other nearby boulders.

Headdress by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After photographing the petroglyphs and then having some lunch, we were soon back on the river.

On the Green by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

For much of the rest of the trip, we spent quite a bit of time floating in the river next to our boats instead of in them…at least when it was deep enough. It was a great way to stay cool even though the temperature was a least in the upper 90’s. It was also a good time to practice getting back into my boat when I couldn’t touch the bottom of the river with my feet…which is surprisingly more difficult than it looks!

I took this photo over my inflatable kayak as I floated behind it…and I even managed not to drop my camera in the river.

IK by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Apr 25 2012

Sunrise in Bryce and the Drive Home

Las Vegas Trip 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

It was the last day of our trip to Las Vegas and Southern Utah and we would finally be heading back home. Of course we would be making some more stops on the way back! After another night in another hotel we were up early again to catch one more sunrise. I was looking forward to photographing Bryce Canyon at sunrise and was hoping for a good one as we drove into the park in the dark.

While exploring the park the previous evening I had decided that I wanted to photograph sunrise from Sunset Point, so that’s where we headed. We were the first car in the parking lot that morning as I walked out to the overlook and setup my camera. When I first saw the sky turn bright pink out over Navajo Mountain, I had a feeling this was going to be a good sunrise! This photo was taken just before the sun came up over the horizon.

Bryce Canyon Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once the sun rose above the horizon, it bathed the spires in a nice golden light.

Bryce Rim Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view towards Inspiration Point.

Inspiration Point by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’m not sure if this is normal here at Bryce, but all of a sudden the light changed and everything was glowing a very bright and vibrant reddish-orange. I have never seen anything like it before. I managed to quickly take two or three photos but the neon color quickly disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared. The colors were really this vibrant!

Bryce Sunrise Colors by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One more photo of the spires in the morning light before it was time to pack up my gear and start on our drive back home.

Morning Lit Spires by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We took Highway 12 back to Escalante so that I could search for a new petroglyph near the Escalante River. Unfortunately I didn’t find the petroglyph I was looking for, but I did get to re-photograph some petroglyphs and pictographs that I have visited before.

Three Amigos by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

White Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Atlatl Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
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Apr 2 2012

The Road to Zion

Las Vegas Trip 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

On Saturday morning Amanda and I left for a week-long vacation to Las Vegas with a few other stops along the way. We would be spending our first weekend of the trip visiting Zion National Park for the first time. On our drive to Zion we made a couple of stops to visit some rock art.

Our first stop along the way was just off of the Interstate near Richfield where I hiked up to some petroglyphs. There were many spirals found here including these larger ones.

Richfield Spirals by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A few smaller spirals and an anthropomorph.

Faded Spirals by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another spiral above.

Another Spiral by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was a small hole in the sandstone overhang that cast a shadow on this petroglyph. It makes me wonder if the dagger of light might line up with the center of the spiral on a particular day and time…perhaps on the equinox or solstice?

Interactive? by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After having some lunch in Richfield we continued on and took another short side trip out of Cedar City to the Lions Mouth Cave pictographs. Here’s a stitched panoramic of the main panel found here.

Lions Mouth Cave Panelramic by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a few photos showing a few other views of the pictographs found here.

Red & Yellow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Lions Mouth Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Strange Designs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finishing the drive to Zion and checking into our hotel just outside of the park we took an afternoon drive through Zion Canyon to get a nice overview of the park. After taking the short hike up to Weeping Rock we stopped by the Court of the Patriarchs and I liked the light that was currently striking them with the dark branches that seemed to compliment the cliffs in the background.

Branches & Patriarchs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Even though there were no clouds in the sky and no fall colors I decided to take a photo of the last light of the day on The Watchman over the Virgin River anyways.

The Watchman Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After the sun was down we headed back into town and grabbed some garlic burgers from Oscar’s for dinner which were really good. Then it was back to our hotel so I could get some sleep before sunrise came again on Sunday…especially since we would be losing an hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time.

>> The Road to Zion Photo Gallery

Jan 23 2012

San Rafael Swell Rock Art IX

New Years Eve | Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

We finally made it…the last trip of the year 2011! On New Years Eve morning I met up with Marty in Green River so that we could head over to the San Rafael Reef and Desert to search for some new rock art sites.

Marty and I on our way to the San Rafael Reef.

To the Reef by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After searching Straight Wash in the Reef for some petroglyphs, this is the only one we managed to find this time.

Lone Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at this lone anthropomorph.

Lone Petroglyph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Marty takes a photo in this colorful sandstone area.

Marty & the Glyph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way out of the canyon we did manage to find a few more faint petroglyphs, but they were difficult to see even with the naked eye.

Barely There by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the next canyon we hiked, we were searching for a specific pictograph panel known as the Buried Site because many of the figures are buried in sand. During our search we managed to find this very faded Barrier Canyon Style panel, which was a nice surprise.

Hard to See by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just when I thought we weren’t going to be finding the Buried Site on this trip, we happened to come across it. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t the best at this time of the day since the overhang cast a shadow right through the pictographs when we arrived. Luckily, I had a shade with me, so Marty held it up to block the sun while I took this photo.

Buried Site by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We searched the area for a while in case there was other rock art around (we didn’t find any). Before we left, the shadow had moved off the panel just enough for this photo.

Buried in the Sun by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After leaving the Reef, we visited one last petroglyph site in the San Rafael Desert just before the sun went down. I didn’t know the exact location of these petroglyphs and we had very little sunlight left, but we did manage to find them with plenty of daylight left. The area I thought they might be turned out to be pretty spot on!

Many of these petroglyphs were difficult to photograph even in the late afternoon sunlight, including this panel that contains a rectangular and striped Barrier Canyon Style figure.

Rectangle Striped BCS by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This is part of a large panel where the petroglyphs were easier to see.

Target Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

That’s it for 2011. It was a great year filled with adventure and rock art and I’m looking forward to continue exploring in 2012!

>> San Rafael Swell Rock Art IX Photo Gallery