Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wildcat Canyon and a Cattle Drive

Today's hike was on the Wildcat Canyon trail.  One drives up the always scenic Kolob Reservoir road to the trail head.  It's just spectacular out there.  If you're in the area, don't miss this drive.

It's a nice hike.  One sees scenery that is different than in Zion NP, but it's no less impressive.  It was eerily warm.  Yesterday when we started up toward Hidden Canyon, it was pretty chilly.  Today at 7,000 feet it was very warm.  Very nice!

There is a big pile of volcanic rock to stand on, so you can look down into a canyon.

More scenery.

This was great.  We've been seeing cows all over the place.  There was a cattle drive in process.

These two young women were very good at getting the cows to move into the left lane so cars could get around them.  One of them looked to be about 13, but she was definitely in control of her horse and the cows.

This is one of the cowboys.  Other people on horses had gone off into the brush, looking for missing cows we suppose.

Cows on the road.

Where there are cows, there are cow by products.  After getting home from the hike, we headed into La Verkin to find a coin operated car wash to clean out the wheel wells.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Return to Hidden Canyon

As you no doubt recall, last Friday we hiked the Hidden Canyon trail, but were prevented from entering the canyon by the boulders on the right.  We noticed the chain on the rock to the left of the top boulder, but failed to appreciate its significance.

To get past the boulder one must climb up the rock face on the left and then down the other side hanging on to the chain for balance.  It was good to do the hike with other people.  They do a fair amount of hiking that requires scrambling and were excellent route finders.

It's pretty in there, the rocks have a lot of color.

This is the arch.  It's easy to walk by it and miss it entirely.  Gayle is in the arch providing perspective on its height.

This is behind the arch, it's still pretty close to the canyon wall.

We made several successful scrambles up dead trees leaning on rocks, crawling through rocks and tree roots.  However, this stopped five of us. We had to walk up those ramps, which were narrow, there was no leaning in, and they were sandy.  I felt like I could make it up, but wasn't confident in my ability to get back down.  So, that's as far as we went in the canyon.

There is spectacular color.

The hike really exceeded expectations.  It's not that far of a distance, but it provides climbing, exposures, chains and scrambling.  Everything you need, nothing you don't.

For reasons that are not clear to me, the park service has quit running the shuttles in the park.  Therefore everyone must drive to their trail head.  There is not enough parking.  Farther up the road in the park, people weren't even pulling off the road, they were just parking everywhere.

Is this not one of the prettiest places there is?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The JEM Trail

Today was mountain biking again.  The weather has cooled off some, which is good.  The sun is still out, however.

We went up Sheepbridge Road and turned right on to the JEM trail.  We rode this trail four years ago. I still do not like it.

We did notice that Cryptobionic crosses Sheepbridge and continues towards the river, so we might give that a go if we're back out there.
In other news, we have learned that this weekend is the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow.  It's a 25 hour mountain bike race. They ride all night, over terrain that is way worse than what is above.  That sort of thing just does not call to me.  Anyway, Thursday the vendors set up just off Sheepbridge Road and Friday the riders start coming in and pre-riding the course.  We checked with the front desk of the RV park, and they have 22 people checking in Thursday.  When we were here in 2010, we were after the race, but did hear stories about the crazy mountain bikers setting fires in the dumpsters.  We're trying to decide if the people watching opportunities will out weigh the aggravation of smoke from the fires.  We're scheduled to leave here Friday morning, so it's probable we'll miss most of the festivities.
Other than that, maties, there is not much to report. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014


We drove out to Grafton today to see what we would see.  The first Grafton was settled in 1859.  Three years later the settlement was wiped out in a flood.  They rebuilt and continued farming.  Originally they had planned to grow cotton, but soon realized that all of their arable land would be needed for food to keep them alive.  It was a difficult existence.  This chart is from the plaque in front of the cemetery.  Look at the deaths from diphtheria, which is now a totally preventable disease.  The anti vaxers never cease to confound me with their logic.

This is the cemetery.  We're not sure why Joseph Berry has the tallest headstone and his very own fence.  He and his family were killed by the Navajo.

These are the remaining buildings.  This was the combination school/church.

The Alonzo Russel home.  It's beautifully constructed.

Alonzo built this house for his wife, Louisa Marie.  She had one of the first weaving looms in the area which she had brought from Connecticut.  Since they had the other bigger house, I'm guessing this was her studio.

The wood is hand hewn.  The wood pieces are chinked with something that looks like mud.

This is irrigation Utah style.  The property owner has opened up a really high pressure pipe and is letting it flood the field.  It's putting out a lot of water.

It's pretty out there.  But it's out there.  People are still living in the area farming and ranching.  There are multiple signs pointing out that the dirt roads are impassable when wet.  I guess they watch the weather reports and stock up before it rains.

We were pretty excited this morning when the two RVs with 9 children between them packed up and went home.  They had been setting many fires.  However, our joy has been dashed by the arrival of a rental Class A and their pyromaniac daughter.  The winds are not going to be in our favor for the next few days.