When you work on a farm, winter and early spring are the best times to get away. I've been about 2 years overdue for a vacation and had some opportunities lately to get out for some fun. My goal over the next few weeks to catch up on some travel logs.
I went on a camping trip with my sister and brother-in-law to the Hole In The Rock trail, which was used by Mormon settlers in 1880 in southern Utah. You can read more about it here.
The day started out Sunny and Warm with highs in the 70's. We made a few stops along the way.
We stopped for great vistas...
to check out some Native American Ruins...
....and to stop and check out this old abandon truck. (I was testing out the Panorama setting on my phone,... I'm a fan)
We got on the trail late afternoon and it was easy going until around dusk, when it got a bit more rugged. By night fall the trail got more technical. My sister and I ended up scouting out the trial for everyone. With flashlights in hand we did our best to find the cairns and very faded painted dashes lines that marked the trail.
We arrived at "cowboy camp" in the dark and settled in for the night. Then came the highlight, pie-iron dinners and chatting until late around the campfire. It was surprisingly warm that night. I even made a barefoot run and scurry up a rock to the truck and back to my tent with no regrets.
The view from cowboy camp.
I went for morning stroll with my sister. We got some nice shots. I found some bug tracks in the red sand. I had been missing the southern Utah desert landscapes and this trip was just the fix I was looking for.
Fender is a really friendly dog but not too cuddly. Every now and then he'd curl up next to me in the back of the truck and just as I was starting to feel "special" I'd realize the road turned and he was trying to get back in a sunspot. I still count that as a win.
Mid-day we had some folks in the group that had some car trouble so we stopped for lunch and did some exploring while they trouble shoot things.
We got back on the trail after a few hours. Grey Mesa was within sight and it was one of the most intense stretches of this trail.
The photos don't do it justice. There was a nice cliff to the right of this shot that was a few hundred ft down.
I walked a lot the first two days until I got to a point of being comfortable with this level of off-roading, confident with the drivers and let's face it just plan tired enough not to care about the first two concerns.
view of the Great Bend of the San Juan River
Molly the Bulldog. This girl could just kick it anywhere.
We ended up having another night pulling into camp after dark. My sister and I scouted the trail out again that night. I was starting to get worried at one point because I thought I was about to run everyone off a cliff. Turns out it was the road. These trucks, jeeps and their drivers were amazing. We found a good campsite, ate dinner and then I went on a night hike to the top of a big ol' rock with the resident mt goat in the group. I kept up and it was worth it, the stars were amazing that night!
It had clouded over by morning and got a tad bit colder but it wasn't too bad. We broke camp and set out. I was feeling more comfortable in the group, as well as more daring so took an empty passenger seat in a different truck for the rest of the trip.
We made it to the end of the trail and did a bit of hiking. You can just barely see the Hole in The Rock in the background of this photo.
We got back on the road and stopped again for a bit more hiking. Found this sweet arch. The picture doesn't show how far down that pool was but I was easily 80-100 ft or more down there.
That's me in a hole!
I got an introduction into canyoneering on this hike. My sister showing me how stemming is done. This scared me a bit since, I have a deep respect for heights, but my sister is more wary of them than me so I bucked up.
I nearly shut down a few times since, I was so out of my comfort zone. I hate when that happens because I inside I want to do it but something deeper inside me doesn't want to die. Everyone was really kind and encouraging though.
I'd like to try more of this again, but I think it would help to go on a longer trek where I could just conquer the fear end of it and learn to trust my ability. It really helped having people on either side of me though.
We hit a bit of rain and hail in the afternoon, but that sun still managed to break every now and then.
We managed to make it back to camp with some some daylight! We set up camp and stood around the campfire while it rained on and off. Once we turned in for the night the rain just started pouring down.
By morning, the rain had turned to snow and we got a good dusting on our campsite.
The snow melted off pretty quick and made some nice muddy roads for us on the way out.
Double tow on a slick muddy slope
We had just enough mud to make it fun and make the trucks looking like they were undoubtedly off-road that week.
On our way out we took a detour to check out some petroglyphs
Then we got in the trucks, jammed up to Hanksville and hovered hamburgers and milk shakes before finishing the trip back up north.