Wandering the Labyrinth

Joan and I had the “gift of time” for the long October weekend and could leave early Thursday for another bonus night of camping.

Dispersed site not far from the trailhead.

And where did we go?

Pancakes and coffee in camp on a leisurely Friday morning. PCO Joan.

It is a place not far away from us overall, but with slow traveling and a complex of canyons, the area seems more significant and further away. And every time we go there, we see more…and realize just how little we’ve seen overall.

Joan in our Thurs night camp during sunset.

We parked at the trailhead and elected to walk down a steeply switchbacked jeep route rather than drive down—a two-hour walk vs. a ~one-hour drive. We enjoyed hiking, and the views did not disappoint.

After the jeep track, we reached the trailhead, went down the winding trail, and into the canyon proper.

PCO Joan

A bit later, we entered a place where we’d see a grand total of two people over the next few days. And two people we both knew.

On this trip, we elected to poke around a place we’ve traveled through before but want to see more in-depth. A spring facilitated a “hub and spoke” style basecamp trip, enabling us to see this place’s nooks and crannies more.

Video courtesy of Joan

And our home for the next few nights proved a worthy place to gaze at the stars, sip our hot drinks and rum, and enjoy the light shows every morning and evening.

On our first full day, we walked around a side canyon to see a panel tucked up a bit of a scramble.

We went down into a land of fins, hoodoos, and arches.

PCO Joan.

The soft light on the rocks reminded us why we enjoyed hiking towards the sunset hours.

On day two, we meandered to the further reaches and side areas of a canyon we had seen in the past but not as extensively as this day.

And, to no surprise, others came this way previously.

We, meaning Joan, found a more manageable way down and back into the canyon, making for a less scrambling path. The cowboy camps and old cans led the way. Joan seemed to appreciate the way a tad.

And, again, no surprise, we saw a panel at the junction of two canyons.

From there, we made our way down to the canyon’s end before it dropped down the sheer cliffs and to the Colorado River.

PCO Joan.

The following day, we woke up before sunrise and hit the trail as the first rays of the sun came up and let us walk into the cliffs, glowing more and more orange with each ray of the rising sun.

PCO Joan.

We started hiking in time to avoid the worst of the still-warm fall days.

We started hiking back up the road and made it within a mile of our truck and saw the same friend we saw earlier in the trip.

The air-conditioned ride for the last half-hour proved better than walking in the afternoon sun.

From our truck, we sponged off and enjoyed a last look toward this area that always seems to call us back repeatedly.

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6 months ago

One of my favorite areas! One of those side canyons narrows up and becomes a surprisingly excellent (although short) slot canyon.