Friday, June 3, 2011

San Rafael Swell

Sunday we drove to the San Rafael Swell in Utah.  Upon our arrival pretty late in the day, we decided to do a short hike in the Wild Horse Canyon.  It was so windy out, that I had to re-park the car further from a cliff because I was honestly convinced that the wind would blow it over.  We had just seen a trailer and car flipped over on the highway from the high winds. 

Wild Horse Canyon was pretty lame.  It's possible that we just never got to the good stuff, or I was just not amused after our long drive and the high winds.
Wild Horse Canyon-- Dave found some possible drawings on the canyon wall.

Near the mouth of Wild Horse Canyon. 
We drove to Temple Mountain campgrounds and found a sweet spot inside a canyon that was pretty protected from the wind.  We set up camp, cooked and ate dinner, and enjoyed a beer/cider before bed. 

Grillmaster Dave making organic, grain fed beef tenderloin steaks seasoned with olive oil and itailan seasoning, thinly sliced potatoes dipped in olive oil and sprinkled with Lawrie's seasoning salt, and marinated green peppers (soy sauce, seasame oil, ginger, garlic, onion marinade).  Our little Weber grill and small propane tanks fit easily into my car. 

Temple Mountain in the background, there are canyon walls on both sides of me.  Our 2-door tent, and Dave listening to the radio and grilling near the car to protect the grill from the wind. 
Monday we woke up in our Temple Mountain camp site, had some Muffins and coffee, decided to leave our tent to save our spot, and headed down the road to hike Crack Canyon.  It was surprisingly cold out!  We didn't start at the trailhead, but a spot that we drove in earlier on the road.  This meant we followed a drainage to the canyon and I marked the way with cairns, which was fun, except I set down my sunglasses somewhere and never saw them again.  I also found some cool petrified wood! 

Crack Canyon
It was a bit chilly.

The canyon itself was just beautiful.  We eventually came on a couple who told us that ahead we'd find that we couldn't get any further.  They were right!  We came upon about a 10 foot drop into a pool of water.  Only, the pool wasn't deep enough to jump into and it appeared that there were rocks in the pool.  So, to avoid death and to avoid not being able to get back out, we had to turn around and head back to the car a little earlier than planned.  While we sat and took a break at this end, a man from Salt Lake City came up and told us that there's never water in this canyon and there's usually a piece of wood that is easily used as a ladder to get down this section.  We hypothesized that a flood might have dislodged the log and filled the pools below.  Apparently it was a wet year in Utah, just like the Colorado Rockies. 

We were told that the canyon would have a few obstacles that we'd have to climb over or down, and then back up on the way back.  Here's how we got over these.  Dave would go down them and then he would tell me exactly where to put each of my hands and feet to get down them myself.  It was fun, but quite challenging!
Trying to climb around the big Boulder on the way back up the canyon.

We hiked out, noting that the trail was getting to be more popular later in the morning, and headed back to our tent for lunch. 
Temple Mountain
After lunch we drove to the trail head for the Little Wild Horse Canyon....

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