Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Horseshoe Canyon

After four nights of dry camping at the Cedar Mesa campground, I stopped in Hanksville for gas and groceries and then spent a night at Goblin Valley State Park in order to tank up the trailer on fresh water and unload some, um, dirty water. I did a little bit of biking just to get some exercise.

The next day I headed out to Horseshoe Canyon, in Canyonlands National Park on the east side of the Colorado River. I knew it would be a long drive, like thirty miles; what I didn't know is that it would all be very dusty washboarded dirt and sand, and that there were almost no places at all to pull off with a camp trailer. Sorry about having to replace those rivets, Scamp.

So after almost two hours of driving from the highway, I reached the Horseshoe Canyon trailhead. The last mile into the trailhead is noticeably rougher, I left the trailer out on the road. There is camping at the trailhead, I could have got the trailer back in there but would not have been happy about the experience.

The main attraction at Horseshoe Canyon is the pictographs; a 6.5 mile round trip hike to some of the best known examples of Barrier Canyon Style pictographs. The "Great Gallery" is indeed spectacular. Unfortunately, somebody left my camera in the trailer instead of in the truck where I could find it, so I don't have any pictures.  Here is somebody else's web page about Horseshoe Canyon. I spent about 3.5 hours hiking in and out, and sightseeing in amazement.

Horseshoe Canyon and neighboring Bluejohn Canyon are the area where Aron Ralston had his harrowing survival experience, as made famous in the movie 127 Hours. I thought it was interesting to note the warning signs on the BLM signboard.

After almost sixty miles of washboard dirt road, I ended up camping at a smoothed out transfer area about two miles from the paved highway. It was nice and quiet, I just wished I'd left the trailer there to begin with.

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