Saturday, November 09, 2013

An Autumn Hike in Southeast Utah

Last month I embarked on a fantastic hike in the area of southeast Utah. It had plenty of red rocks, a small stream and some curious ruins and pictographs. The weather was delightful  during the day but below freezing most nights. And the fall colors were at their best. Have a look.

The hike began at 7,000 feet on top of the Shinarump Conglomerate Member of the Chinle Formation. You can see it capping the mesa on the right skyline. The red slope below is cut into the Moenkopi and Organ Rock formations with the Cedar Mesa Sandstone making up all of the light colored rocks inside the canyon.

Another view of the section just described.

Sandstone heaven - the vast majority of the hike was within this one rock unit, deposited near the shore of a Permian age beach.

Heading down.

One of the first things we spotted was an old ranch  house with the wagon still waiting nearby to make a run to town, only 50 miles away. It was amazing to see this wagon returning to the earth from its last position in  the "driveway".

The was lots of well-developed  crytobiotic soil in this little abused section of the desert.

And arches too. Can you spot this one in the distance?

Many alcoves had ruins within them.

A closer look. It was impossible without ladders to get any closer.

Interesting hand prints and dots.

And grinding stations for food stuffs.

View out to the east from an alcove.

The autumn colors in the cottonwood trees was at its peak in the 3rd week in October.

Especially when framed by the sandstone.

Gold for the soul!

Everywhere the color was spectacular.

A nice pictograph from at least 700 years ago.

This one had three other "friends" as well.

Hmm? What could this scat be from? It is pretty large.

Moving on downstream.

A large flood had ripped down the canyon just about a month before.

Yep - there is the one who left the scat on the trail - a brown bear. He was shy and never really showed is face to us.

Pool reflections.

Painted hand prints.

An anthropomorph.

Joe had found this panel while wandering around in  our camp below.

We did not see to many depictions of bighorn sheep but this is one well rendered.

Here is a view of some prehistoric backpackers.

An here are some modern ones.

I am so fortunate to have friends who love to hike and camp in the wilderness. This five-day hike was one of the best ever!


  1. Wayne, this looks like a good time in wonderful country. Congratulations.

  2. I wish I could do a hike like this with you, but since I can't, I can enjoy your blog and wonderful pictures.
    Keep on trekking Wayne!


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