|Sun rise view of La Sal Mountains|
I look around and in every direction I see incredible rock formations, vibrant spring flowers, and stunning skies. I am in the Maze District of CanyonlandsNational Park. The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands. The Maze is rarely visited due to its remoteness, difficulty of roads, and trails. This is my first week of three that I will be spending in this remote desert.
|The Maze: Chocolate Drops|
|Horseshoe Canyon: Holy Ghost panel in the Great Gallery|
Day 1: Horseshoe Canyon hike. Ok, so I’ll admit right off the bat, I am not much of a hiker; in fact I’d say that I don’t even like it very much at all. In my opinion there are few reasons to hike, summiting a peak or skinning to make some creamy backcountry turns. Anyway, I digress. Today, a 7mile out and back hike to The Great Gallery, a wall featuring pictographs from the Desert Archaic culture. The pictures are both etched and painted with mineral rich paint made from iron, manganese, and other minerals. Very similar to the minerals found in desert varnish. These archaic people where believed to have left the canyon in 1300 B.C. leaving only these pictures behind. It’s a powerful thought to think about the habitat and quality of life of the people hunting and gathering in such a harsh environment. Hike and all it was astonishing and I am very glad I did it.
Day 2: Drive. Some would say big deal you drove all day. This is no ordinary drive. With a fully loaded F450 Western Spirit style and heinous rocky steep terrain, it was no picnic. The Flint trail, very steep, narrow, and rocky. In one section I had to do a five point turn to negotiate a hairpin turn albeit in four wheel low with a harrowing precipice below. The constant rocking stayed with me all the way through dinner that evening. Something like the feeling you have after being on a boat all day.
Day 3: A 14 mile sandy hike through the Maze district. Today we drop in the canyon from Maze Overlook. Today,was my most memorable scenery from the trip. We circumnavigate Chocolate Drops, view more pictographs, lunch at Chimney Rock, all while in the presence of astonishing landmarks such as Elaterite, Bagpiper, and Ekker Buttes. We spend the day above, in, and below the different rock layers of The Maze. On the hike we have some exciting scrambling at the beginning and end due to the lollypop shape of this particular hike. The scrambling was really fun with a group supporting each other and shouting beta back and forth. “ Left foot down six inches, hand hold up and left a twelve inches. “ Once we reach the canyon below it’s a seemingly endless sandy walk down canyon and eventually out to Chimney Rock. We finish along the mesa back towards camp. 8 hours later we are back in camp and preparing dinner for 8.