Friday, May 6, 2011
Wild Horse Window
That's the view from the parking area. I planned to hike up Wild Horse Creek, not to be confused with Little Wild Horse. The guidebook I had showed a cave slightly north of the creek wash, and it turned out to be easily visible from where I parked. Okay, that might be interesting, so with no other information I forged ahead on a well-used trail, first in the sand and then well-cairned on the slickrock. Before long, I came to the cave itself, a double-cavern sort of thing that looked really nice.
But, wait, there's more! The right side cavern has a skylight! Cool!
I looked this up online, the usual name is "Wild Horse Window". That seems a bit lame to me, I talked to a few other hikers who called it the "Skylight Cave". Okay, whatever, it is a really cool place and only a mile from the trailhead. According on online sources, the roof opening is 35 feet by 22 feet.
After visiting the cave, I went back down to the wash, almost to the trailhead, in order to go up Wild Horse Creek. It is about three miles up to the top, where you can drive to the top of the wash via the Behind-The-Reef Road. Most of the walking is in loose sand, and does get tiring. There are three sets of narrows; the first one you can walk through, the others have easy bypasses around some more difficult dryfalls.
There are supposed to be pictographs and petroglyphs in this canyon. I didn't see any of them the first time through, so I went back the next day determined to find the "best" set of pictographs, that are located near the bottom of the canyon. I did find them, finally. Going up-canyon, you come to the first set of narrows (easily walkable) about 5 minutes into the wash. Above these narrows, go about 10-15 minutes walking, on the right (east/north) side of the canyon there is an amphitheater of noticeably whiter rock. Above the main white rim there is a noticeable cavern in the orange sandstone. Below the white rim, there are two distinct chambers. In the left hand chamber, below the upper cavern, the pictographs are visible with the naked eye but take binoculars for a better view. It looked like a tedious climb, maybe 100' vertical, on steep slickrock so I didn't go all the way up.