Saturday, May 5, 2012
On Saturday morning I set out early to drive down to The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. One of my goals for 2012 was to spend more time hiking and exploring in this amazing area. Unfortunately, because of circumstances earlier this year I was unable to make it down here until now, so I’m getting a later start than I had originally planned. Better late than never, I guess. I’ve still got plenty of time this year to return a few more times!
When I made it to the park I headed straight for the Squaw Flat Campground and started hiking the Lost Canyon and Squaw Canyon loop trail. It was a beautiful morning that was perfect for hiking. I made it to Lost Canyon in no time.
The well-used trail to Squaw Canyon, Lost Canyon and eventually Peekaboo.
Crossing the sandstone of the Squaw – Lost Canyon Divide
Following the cairns.
When I reached the bottom of the canyon, I decided to take a detour to try and find an old cowboy camp. It was a little tricky to find as there wasn’t even a faint trail through the brush to reach it, but after a bit of searching I did manage to find it. There was a pretty good bushwhack involved to finally reach it. I even managed to find some faint rock art as I searched the nearby alcoves.
There were a lot of old and interesting cowboy camp relics found in this alcove.
A zig-zag design pictograph on the back of the alcove.
This was the oldest inscription I found as I searched the old camp. There were plenty of others from the first half of the 1900’s.
Graffiti over some faint Barrier Canyon Style anthropomorphs.
A closer look at the Barrier Canyon Style pictographs.
A faded petroglyph I found as I searched the area for more rock art and historic relics.
There was even an old hitching post still standing in one of the alcoves.
After the detour to the cowboy camp, I continued my hike up Lost Canyon searching for ruins and rock art along the way. I managed to find a few of each.
I found a few white anthropomorphs, spirals and an interesting arc-shaped figure under a shallow overhang.
I even found some nicely-preserved ruins. There were actually three of these granaries next to each other, but the other two were in direct sunlight while this one was in the shade.
Near the ruins I found a few more pictographs.
I found the Yellowman nearby, too.
As I hiked further up canyon, the mosquitoes seemed to get progressively worse. Probably because there was a lot of standing water in the canyon. It was so bad in places that I couldn’t stop for a second or I would be swarmed…so I just kept moving. Shortly before climbing out of Lost Canyon, I ran into another little problem…somehow I had managed to drink all of the water in my CamelBak and I was just a little past the halfway point of the hike with about 4 miles left. I didn’t think I drank that much water so far on the hike, but apparently I did? I brought the same amount of water I usually take on a day hike, and I almost always have plenty leftover at the end of the day, even when hiking in 90 degree weather…so I’m not sure what happened this time. I guess I was extra thirsty!
This is a side canyon of Lost Canyon that you hike up and then over the divide back into Squaw Canyon.
On the divide again.
The last 4 miles back to the Jeep were a little tough under the sun with no water, but I managed to make it back. I stopped and rested in the shade a few times on my way back. After the hike, I left the park to get some dinner and then find somewhere to camp. I originally planned to stop at the Needles Outpost to try one of their burgers since Marty has told me that they make one of the best burgers around, but unfortunately they close the kitchen at 4:00pm, so I was out of luck. I guess I would be having dinner in camp after all. I’ll have to return another time for a burger.
I did make another stop at Newspaper Rock since I had a little free time before sunset.
Driving back to my campsite along Indian Creek.
I stayed up to try and photograph the Super Moon after the sun had set. There was a bright glow over the distant cliffs just before it rose.
A close-up of the Super Moon.
When the moon was finally up, I headed right for bed. The day had been pretty exhausting and I was tired. Besides, I needed to get some sleep so I could continue exploring the area the next day!