The Maze and the Mesa | Day 8
Saturday, April 16, 2011
On Saturday we woke up again to yet another cold morning, but thankfully not quite as cold as the previous day. Originally we were planning on staying in our current campsite for the last night, but at the last minute we changed our plans and decided to move to Comb Wash for the last night. We packed up camp and headed over to Comb Wash and then setup camp again. Once camp was set, we headed over to Mule Canyon and were hoping to take a nice leisurely stroll up the canyon for an easy day of exploring…but as I stated before, is seems Jared and I don’t quite know the meaning of an ‘easy day’ because by the time we reached the Jeep again we had hiked over 8.5 miles round trip with a lot of climbing up to ruins along the way.
Of course we visited the House on Fire (Flaming Roof) ruins, and then we continued up the canyon a few more miles searching for other ruins and rock art as we went. I know we missed some of them, probably because we turned around too soon, so I’m sure I’ll be heading back again sometime in the future.
The well-known House on Fire Ruins.
An overview of the House on Fire ruins.
The next set of ruins we found up the canyon from House on Fire.
Jared and the view up Mule Canyon.
A well-preserved set of ruins further up.
A closer look at the ruins since we didn’t even try to find a way up to them since there was no obvious route.
When we reached the spot in the canyon we turned around at, I stopped to rest in the shade of this tree and took this photo as I lay on the cool sandstone.
On our way back down Mule Canyon we stopped and climbed up to one more site we had skipped on the way up. I’m glad we did, since there turned out to be some cool rock art here too.
The top of the alcove glows bright orange in the background with the large concentric circles in the foreground.
Here we found another painted wall that used to be in the back of a structure. There are plenty of petroglyphs located above the paint, too.
We were unable to climb up to these ruins located on a ledge above us.
Jared checking out a small granary.
The same granary as above, in the colorful alcove.
There was still plenty of time left in the day when we reached the trailhead again so we headed up the Dog Tanks Road to visit the petroglyphs on Walnut Knob.
Looking back at Comb Ridge from Walnut Knob where UT-95 cuts through.
One of the two large panels of petroglyphs found on Walnut Knob.
A closer look at the panel. Probably a Ute panel since there are horseback riders in the scene.
Here’s the other larger panel.
A closer look.
Closeup of the shield figure.
Afterwards we headed to Blanding for some dinner at the Homestead Steak House where I had a burger and some of their homemade biscuits. After our meal we headed to the Mule Canyon Towers to await the sunset and the stars that night. Before it got too dark out Jared showed me some petroglyphs he had found the last time he explored this site.
A small structure found near the Mule Canyon Towers.
The moon rising over the rim of Mule Canyon as we explore below.
The ‘Hunt Scene’ petroglyph panel that Jared showed me.
A closer look at some of the figures in the panel, including a duck-headed man.
Looks like it was a successful hunt!
Lower Mule Canyon as the sun sets.
Once it was dark enough we both tried out some night shots.
When I setup this shot, my original goal was to get some star trails to show up through the window as well as around the tower. Unfortunately, some clouds blew through the shot as I was taking it, so that didn’t work out as I had planned this time. I do like the way the clouds look in this shot, though. The lighting on the tower is from the almost-full moon behind the camera. I didn’t have to add any additional light.
A very short time-lapse video I made of the separate shots used to make the photo above. You can see the clouds blowing through the scene and also the moonlight on the tower changing.
Before we left, Jared had the idea for this shot and took one. I liked the idea and took a quick shot with the Big Dipper above the Mule Canyon Tower.
When we were done, it was back to our camp in Comb Wash for our last night of the trip.