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Canyons of the Escalante: Silver Falls Creek

Following Another Segment of the Historic Halls Road
Friday – Sunday, May 8-10, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed into the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area so that we could continue my Canyons of the Escalante series by hiking down Silver Falls Creek to the Escalante River and back. With warmer temperatures in the desert lately, I was looking for an easy overnight backpacking trip where we could camp near water to cool off during the heat of the day. Plus, with seemingly more people out on our public lands right now, I was also looking for a more out-of-the-way location that’s not very popular where we would hopefully not run into many other people in the backcountry. Silver Falls Creek seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I had actually planned on hiking down Silver Falls Creek Canyon last October with Jared after we hiked through Little Death Hollow and Wolverine Canyon, but after that hike we decided to end our week-long trip a day early and instead went on a short hike along Pleasant Creek in Capitol Reef National Park, so I was looking forward to finally visiting this canyon. As an added bonus, this would be another segment of the historic Halls Road that we would be able to check out after hiking down Lower Muley Twist Canyon back in March.

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The Search for Goblin Gulch

Canyons of the Black Ridge: “Trailing the Ghosts and Gnomes of Goblin Gulch”
Tuesday, May 5, 2020

When Will Minor started to hunt for a small band of strayed Angora goats he little dreamed he soon would have cause to forget them. As he entered a tiny canyon he suddenly came face to face with the weirdest collection of natural forms he ever had seen. The soft white sandstone of the canyon walls was covered with faces and figures—some animal, some human, some resembling modernistic sculpture and others like nightmarish creatures which only a writer of horror fiction could conceive.

– Desert Magazine, May 1944

Last week while I was going down the rabbit hole of searching online for more information about Will Minor and the High Trail, I came across an old magazine article that was written by him called Trailing the Ghosts and Gnomes of Goblin Gulch. This article was featured in the May, 1944 issue of Desert Magazine and was about a place he found many stone faces weathered from soft white sandstone just below Black Ridge that he called Goblin Gulch. I had never heard or seen anything about this location before, but the article and photos really piqued my interest and I knew I would have to try to find this forgotten place hidden within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness!

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Hondu Country: Upper Muddy Creek Gorge

Tomsich Butte to Poor Canyon, Road Hollow to Fix-It Pass & Slipper Arch
Friday & Saturday, May 1-2, 2020

I was originally supposed to be in the San Rafael Swell this weekend for an event that was cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but since most of Utah, including Emery County, was open to camping again I decided to still head into the Swell so I could spend Saturday hiking and exploring more of the Muddy Creek Wilderness. I’ve gone on a couple of great trips along the Muddy Creek over the past few years and have been looking forward to getting back there again. This time I planned to hike into the Upper Gorge of Muddy Creek from Tomsich Butte and then continue into Poor Canyon as far as I could go. I was hoping that Poor Canyon would share some of the same amazing features that the forks of Chimney Canyon do, and I wasn’t disappointed!

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The Kokopelli Trail to Salt Creek

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

This evening Diane and I headed over to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near Rabbit Valley so we could spend the evening hiking a short section of the Kokopelli Trail. Although I have driven, hiked and even biked much of the Kokopelli Trail over the years, there are still a few sections of singletrack that I have missed. Today I thought it would be fun to hike one of those sections which descends down to Salt Creek from near the end of the Sidewinder Road on the west side. The trail then crosses a bridge over Salt Creek and connects up to the Troy Built Trail on the other side of the canyon.

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Waterpocket Fold: Lower Muley Twist Canyon

Friday – Sunday, March 27-29, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed over to Capitol Reef National Park so we could get in one last backpacking trip before Colorado and Utah were both completely shut down and only open to local residents due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. At this point in time it was still OK to visit and camp within Wayne and Garfield Counties in Utah, plus Capitol Reef National Park was still open, so the trip was a go! We knew that this was probably going to be our last backpacking trip into Utah for a while, so we decided to visit Lower Muley Twist Canyon since it’s a canyon I’ve wanted to explore for a long time and I thought it would be a great place to practice social distancing. It turned out to be a great choice since we would only briefly see one other person the entire weekend, plus the scenery was spectacular!

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