Upper Salt Creek Overnight

At some point, the weather changes. Nature flips a switch.

Somehow the temps go from late Fall with its sunny, warm days and cool nights to early winter.  Blustery wind, cold days and even colder nights occur.

But it is not a time to stay inside.

We adjust and pack thicker puffies, pads, and even bring puffy pants.

Though not the colder and snowier winters found in the Colorado high country, we still need the correct clothing, gear, and mindset to enjoy the blustery weather.

And that is how we set out to enjoy a weekend in the Upper Salt Creek area of Canyonlands.

A bit bumpier of a road to access to the area vs. our recent trip.  But seemingly more isolated for that reason.

After camping out Friday night, we pulled up to the BLM trailhead and descended into the canyon.

And saw remnants of more recent times.

And at our camp, signs of earlier inhabitants.

The canyon walk itself gave us senes of the typical red rock, blue skies, and Navajo sandstone.

But also more intimate scenes that proved to be just as intriguing.

We soon reached the site of the famous “American Man” pictograph.

Handprints adorning the wall next to the striking blue, white, and red paint pictograph in an alcove above.

But more than the pictograph, the squash growing outside an old Pueblo dwelling intrigued us. A living link to the past where people farmed, dreamt and lived among the canyon walls.

Imagination almost brought forth the sound of grinding corn, children playing, and other echoes of the past.

The time came to make camp. We didn’t even bother to drop our packs as we scrambled up to an overlook. We wanted to catch the final rays of the setting sun.

The sound of coyotes yipping sang in the cold night as we settled in for a long sleep.

We made a point to explore a side canyon the following day. No trails and only a rough map showing some other possible sites. An occasional footprint just highlighted how few people came up here.

At least in our current times.

From afar, we could see other dwellings explored the previous day. The canyon floor connected all the communities.

We soon reached the point where we had to leave. Daylight is scarce at this time of the year. And a drive on a bumpy BLM road at night is no fun.

We reached the top of the canyon rim and took one last look over where spent the weekend.  Knowing there is more to see and places to explore.  We’ll be back.

All the photos…

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Joan Jarvis
Joan Jarvis
5 years ago

The squash is intriguing. Could it possibly be from an ancient seed? Or a plant that’s been re-seeding itself for millennia?

5 years ago

I’ve been enjoying/learning from your posts for a few years now.

I love reading these Moab area explorations. Thanks for these.

Joan Jarvis
Joan Jarvis
5 years ago

You need a botanist to.confirm that it’s some really old variety, nothing.modern. So cool!

Sean P
Sean P
5 years ago

You’re making the absolute best use of your time right now. Whenever I’ve brought up wanting to move to Utah the past few years, and people ask why on earth I’d want to live there, I just chuckle to myself. The Front Range does get tiresome after a while. Anyway, keep it up!

Joan Jarvis
Joan Jarvis
5 years ago

Great.article.on the Buffalo.gourd. I learn a lot.from your posts. Thanks!

Harvey Halpern
5 years ago

Paul- Love that area, first time in Upper Salt was in 1980, in fact first time I saw All American Man was on the eve of the 1980 Presidential election. FYI that is NOT Navajo sandstone but rather Cedar Mesa formation.

Sincerely, Harvey Halpern