Willis Creek Hike, Oct. 15, 2016

road_to_williscreekwilliscreek_slotcanyon_2cat_in_williscreek_slotcanyon

Joel & Cat with Sonya & John Swatsley.  This slot canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument must be taken in dry weather with no rain predicted in the area.  If you survive the torrent that runs through the canyon your vehicle will be stuck on the muddy slick Skutumpah Road.  Getting there: Utah state route 12 east of Bryce Canyon to Cannonville.  Check in at the BLM visitor center; get info on safe conditions in the area.  Go south on the road leading to Kodachrome Basin about 3 miles to Forest Road 500 which is the 30+ mile long Skutumpah; go 6 miles to the Willis Creek trail head parking lot.

We set up the card table and chairs and had a first class picnic lunch with salad, pink lemonade, tuna salad in pita pockets, hummus, vegetables,  and cranberry apple pie.

williscreek_picnic

The four of us then started off on the hike which began as a walk beside tiny Willis Creek which gradually descended into a deepening and narrowing slot canyon.

williscreek_trail_1

williscreek_slotcanyon_beginningwilliscreek_slotcanyon_beginning2

The water was only a few feet wide and a few inches deep but at times was wall to wall in the narrows section of the slot canyon.  You will get your feet wet.  Wear rocky stream shoes or boots that you are OK to get wet.

willis_creek_canyon

John had on a nice pair of new boots and decided to only go about 1/2 mile down the canyon and turned back to save his boots.  Still he and Sonya got to see some of the nice canyon.  The slots were twisty and looked like frozen vertical waves.  The rock was more of shades of earth tones – gray, brown, black instead of red rock like Red Canyon or Bryce.

williscreek3

Cat and I hiked about 1 mile of the canyon before returning back to the trail head.  At about 1/2 mile from the parking lot, the canyon developed a lovely waterfall of about 10-15 feet high.  The trail bypassed the fall so we did not have to repel down the fall itself.  If it was a hot day and we were dressed for getting wet (or undressed), standing under the fall would be fun.

williscreek_falls_1

After the hike we continued in our cars south on Skutumpah Road, crossing Bull Valley Gorge.  Boy, is it narrow and deep.  Crossing it on a dirt bridge (which seems to have no means of support) is a thrill.  Someday we will hike that trail.

bull_valley_gorge_signbull_valley_gorge_omg

Continuing south was a scenic 2 hour drive with only 2 isolated ranches along the way to the paved Johnson Canyon Road.

johnson_canyon_rd

longhorn_cow_johnsoncanyon

Stopped for designer coffee in Kanab, then home to Cedar City through Fredonia, west on state route 389 past Pipe Springs, Colorado City (Short Crick), and Hurricane, and I-15 north.  A good day.

ribbon_turquoise_1-40

ribbon turquoise1 pendant, $40

ribbon turquoise2 pendant, $30

ribbon turquoise2 pendant, $30

ribbon turquoise3, $40

ribbon turquoise3 pendant, $40

Advertisements

#bull-valley-gorge, #john-swatsley, #johnson-canyon, #ribbon-turquoise, #willis-creek

Kolob Terrace Road, Utah, July 17, 2016

The road trip runs from Cedar City to Virgin, Utah via state highway 14, about 5 miles up Cedar canyon to Right Hand Canyon Road, just before Milt’s Stage Stop.  When reaching the aspen forest, the road turns to dirt.  Just after that there’s a road to the left which we took for about 1/4 mile to a spectacular view of the pink cliffs and wildflower meadows.  After turning back to the main road we drove through the aspen forest and alpine meadows in bloom and a steep downhill grade to Kolob Reservoir, and another steep downhill run to the city of Virgin, then a left turn on state highway 9 to Springdale.  The road is marked “Kolob Mountain Road” where it meets highway 9.

Highlights of the trip:

  1. Cedar City and west desert overlook, 5 miles up Right Hand Canyon. 50-100 mile view.
  2. alpine meadows with wild flowers along Kanarra Mountain
  3. Kolob Reservoir
  4. hidden gorge waterfall and condor viewing south of the reservoir where the road crosses Kolob Creek.  Yes, we saw 3 condors soaring above the canyon.
  5. back side of Zion National Park that most tourists never see
  6. dinner at Jack’s bar & grill next to the Switchback Grill in Springdale with John & Sonya Swatsley
  7. John was able to take photos of flowers, meadows, a corral of designer horses, and mountains.  John is a very successful artist who, until recently moving to Utah, has produced paintings of African wildlife and landscapes.
    Pink Cliffs & wildflower meadows

    Pink Cliffs & wildflower meadows

    Wasatch penstemon & lupine

    Wasatch penstemon & lupine

    lupine & pink gilia

    lupine & pink gilia

    wild delphinium & coneflower

    wild delphinium & coneflower

    pink gilia

    pink gilia

    vetch & balsamroot

    vetch & balsamroot

    waterfall near condor viewing area

    waterfall near condor viewing area

    DSC00718

    condor viewing area, Zion canyon in distance

    condor viewing area, Zion canyon in distance

    Kolob Canyon

    Kolob Canyon

    back side of Zion N.P.

    back side of Zion N.P.

    back side of Zion N.P.

    back side of Zion N.P.

    back side of Zion N.P.

    back side of Zion N.P.

    back side of Mt. Kinesava

    back side of Mt. Kinesava

    more back side of Zion

    more back side of Zion

    scarlet gilia

    scarlet gilia

#alpine-meadows, #balsamroot, #condors, #john-swatsley, #kolob-mountain-road, #kolob-terrace-road, #lupine, #pink-cliffs, #pink-gilia, #scarlet-gilia, #wild-delphinium, #zion-national-park-backside