Monday, June 2, 2014

Grand Gulch

Day 3: Multi-day backpack trip down Sheiks Canyon and out Kane Gulch. Water sources are good following a heavy rain the week before so we don't have too much trouble. Last year it was lean and if it wasn't for a hard rain in the morning we would have run short on water.

Pre-hike lunch. We eat heavy because a lot of the food we have will not survive the 3 days we'll be out.
The truck is at the exit. We ride uphill into a strong wind for a few miles then down a dirt road to the drop in to Sheiks canyon.

With good weather forecast we are all excited to get hiking and make quick time to the end of Sheiks canyon because we did this part last year and we want to get to the new stuff around the corner.

Hiking is rugged but for canyons this is easy. The footing isn't ideal at times but if you keep a cool head and remember that you rarely fall off a sidewalk and the exposure isn't a big deal and you just walk the edge like it's no big deal.

This is kind of a big deal. The end of Sheiks. To the right (the notch) is Kane and the way we want to go but it's a long way down so we go around to the left and it takes about an hour to loop around and down. Last year we went left and stayed left and came out Bullet Canyon.

For scale you'll see Josh in the distance.

A short rest but the reality is this place is so big we all take a long time to soak it in. The panoramic at the top of this post is only half of this place. I don't have enough to make a full view but below is the opposite of the first. The notch on the far left is the rock bench we are sitting on in the first panoramic and Neil is still there but good luck finding him.

We eventually have to leave. Navigation is easy but several side canyons have to be avoided to stay in and eventually head up Kane Gulch. In 3 days we only see 5 or 6 people.

Old Anasazi ruins riddle the Grand Gulch. So many that after 3 days you are almost tired of seeing them unless they are exceptionally good. This one was a scary climb up a large overhang but we didn't know what lay ahead so we climbed it just to see.

You can see the excitement on his face from the effort vs reward.

Hard to believe but this is really corn grown 700+ years ago. 

A major wall painting. This is possibly the best we see in the three days. The hands are believed to be a way to show population.

We are in a desert yet the very bottom is a lush grassy valley.

We are looking at the water source and our final camp site. We need to filter this water and hike it 2 miles to camp.
The rain last week opened up a lot of desert flowers. I have a post of just flowers but I like this too much and it was right next to camp.
Happy at camp we have a large supply of water, a lot of food, and a wide sandy site under clear skies.

We still have a full day's hike to get to the end of Kane Gulch but day one went well and we covered something like 8 miles. Tomorrow it's 10 more (I think) and on that we'll pick this up in a few days.

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