Saturday, March 14, 2015
I stayed home this weekend so I could work on a large photo project that I need to get done soon, but when Saturday afternoon rolled around I was tired of staring at a computer screen and had to get out hiking somewhere. It’s a good thing that I live close to a lot of trails and amazing scenery here in the Grand Valley! I had no plans, so I decided to explore the East Fork of Pollock Canyon since I had looked down into it from the Pollock Bench a few weekends ago and thought it would be a nice area to explore.
I started my hike from the trailhead near Flume Creek Canyon and followed the Rattlesnake Canyon trail to where it enters Pollock Canyon. Here I left the trail and followed the wash up the canyon to to confluence of the two forks, where I took a left in order to follow the East Fork.
A sandstone hoodoo above the trail.
A huge cairn marks the descent into Pollock Canyon.
Following the wash up Pollock Canyon after leaving the Rattlesnake Arches trail.
A big open field in the East Fork of the canyon near an old shepherd’s cabin.
A nice view from the front door of the cabin. Not a bad place to live!
An old bottle on a shelf inside.
Inside the cupboard.
An old ladder in the corner.
An old stove in the opposite corner.
Back of the cabin.
After checking out the cabin for a bit, I continued up the wash until it entered a short slot canyon in the Precambrian rock. It ended at a high waterfall that had a trickle of water running down it into a muddy pool.
The muddy pool and end of the short slot canyon on the left, with the entrance to the slot on the right.
Looking out the slot down the canyon.
Since I couldn’t go any further up the canyon this way, I exited the slot and found a steep and loose climb up to the top of the Precambrian rock where I got a nice view of the sandstone scenery surrounding me.
When I left the trailhead earlier in the afternoon I had run into Steve Obser, another local hiker that I have talked to before. While we were talking about my plans for the evening he mentioned that there was a way down from the Pollock Bench Trail into the canyon. Instead returning the way I had come, I decided to try to find a different and shorter way back by climbing up to the bench. Looking at the landscape above from the top of the Precambrian rock, the only way that looked possible was the rocky slope to the left of the formation pictured below, and I started climbing that direction. I soon realized that I had chosen the right direction when I came across a few cairns and a faint trail and knew I was probably on the route that Steve had mentioned. I followed the faint trail all the way back to the top where I was able to connect with the Pollock Bench Trail. It was a good climb to the top, but it saved me some distance on the hike back.
The way back up is to the left of this formation.
View down the East Fork from the trail I followed back to the top.
Almost to the top of the Pollock Bench, the East Fork of Pollock Canyon is far below.
One last photo from the top of the Pollock Bench towards the Grand Mesa before the sky filled with clouds and stayed overcast for the remainder of my hike back to the trailhead.
Below is my GPS track from the hike in Google Maps. The entire hike was about 8.5 miles in length and a nice way to spend a Saturday evening.