[cdt-l] Still wandering......

Ginny & Jim Owen spiritbear2k at hotmail.com
Wed May 16 00:33:42 CDT 2007

This has been a fun couple of weeks, mixing hiking and touring with a little 
backpacking in the immediate future.

We've continued our search for rock art - and found quite a lot of it - 
first at several (usually vandalized) sites in the Moab area, then a couple 
of good sites near Green River, and finally the incredible 4000-9000 year 
old pictographs at Horseshoe Canyon.  There were even a couple of decent 
sites at Capitol Reef.  Today we stopped at Anasazi State Park, which had 
another ruin and a small museum.  We have a long list of other sites to 
visit, when we find the time.

We've also been busy exploring the National Parks in this area - arch 
hunting in Arches for two days, exploring Canyonlands Island in the Sky 
unit, then slot canyon hiking in the San Rafael Swell (Little Wild Horse 
Canyon/Bell Canyon).  Capitol Reef was a pleasant surprise - very beautiful 
and dramatic.  We spent a couple of days dayhiking there, camping in the 
middle of the fruit orchards.  There are a couple of longer hikes we may go 
back to do there but the short ones were a good introduction.  Approaching 
Escalante we finally managed to hike to beautiful Lower Calf Creek Falls - a 
126' waterfall in a beautiful valley. We missed it when we were in the area 
two years go, so it was on our short list for this year.

One surprise has been how difficult it can be to camp in the National and 
State Parks this time of year.  Arches fills by 7:30 a.m.; Needles filled by 
9:00; Island in the Sky and Deadhorse Point and Goblin State Park were all 
full when we got there.  We managed to get a spot at Capitol Reef on our 
second day - but it was full the first time we went through.  In some cases, 
we found alternate camping in primitive or undeveloped sites on BLM land - 
but we've also ended up staying at motels more than planned.  That's nice 
because of the chance for a shower - but it's not quite the way we planned 
this trip.  I'd expect that after Memorial Day - but because of the weather, 
April and May are prime time out here.

Tomorrow we head out on the first of two backpacking trips in the Grand 
Staircase-Escalante NM - first through Coyote Gulch for a 26 mile hike, then 
west a bit to a section of the Hayduke Trail through Round Valley Draw to 
Hackberry Canyon to the Paria River to Willis Creek.

After that - who knows?  We need to find a good place to avoid Memorial Day 
weekend crowds.  If things are this crowded now - what will they be like on 
a holiday weekend?

Walk softly,
Ginny and Jim


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