The Alcove

We loved our winter truck camps this year—a chance to get outside and enjoy the Colorado Plateau winter.

But our first love, by far, is backpacking.  We love the simplicity, how even a shorter hike immerses us into the wild places because of this simplicity, and the feeling of knowing what we need for safety and comfort outdoors is on our back.

Joan had some knee issues that a fantastic PT worked with her and gave her the all-clear for a moderate backpack.

We connected our footsteps with a previous canyon via another jeep road that takes a long to drive but makes some excellent hiking.

As I told others, we enjoy backpacking during winter on the Colorado Plateau.  The red rock and snow make for some striking views; the cold weather is just that: cold, unlike ski touring no different clothing, equipment, and techniques are needed.  And even the more well-known places seem deserted.

Of course, we did not go to a prominent place. And that always gives it an appeal to us.

PCO Joan.

We only shared the canyon with the local bovine residents. No doubt attracted by a creek flowing even in winter during a drought year.

The main attraction on this hike for us, besides the incredible scenery, ended up this vast alcove.

As we learned recently, the reddish-pink ochre found in these sites helped create the hues of the pictographs still preserved so many generations later.

Some of the more yellow-hued rocked showed the Barrier-era style pictographs of 1500+ years old.

One panel seemed very faint and easy to miss. I upped the saturation of the faded pictographs to show it a bit.

The rock formations in the alcove, no doubt, made this area a vital place in the canyon.

As Joan hiked out of the alcove, her blue fleece gave an idea of this place’s size overall.

You can barely make out just diagonally across from the tree at the bottom of this photo.

On our way out, we enjoyed the winter sun and the way it played upon the rocks at the mouth of the canyon.

The road walk out proved just as stunning as into the canyon itself. In the distance, we could see to Pete’s Mesa in The Maze and even the Dollhouse as we rounded the corner to our truck.

Joan’s grateful for the opportunity to backpack again. We plan to tackle so more moderate routes in the next few weeks. But with the beauty of the Colorado Plateau in winter, I know we won’t fail to find places that continue to make where we call home such a fantastic place.

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