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Tag: san rafael swell

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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Leap Day at Swasey’s Leap

Leap Day | Saturday & Sunday, February 29 – March 1, 2020

This year Leap Day (February 29th) happened to fall on a weekend, so I thought it would be fitting to finally get out to Swasey’s Leap in the San Rafael Swell to celebrate. Swasey’s Leap (sometimes spelled Swazys) is a narrow part of the canyon near the beginning of the Lower Black Box of the San Rafael River that is only about 14 feet wide and 50 feet deep. The lore associated with Swasey’s Leap is that back in the late 1800’s Sid and Charley Swasey made a wager about Sid’s horse jumping the narrow gap at the top of the canyon. Sid said his horse could make it while Charley wagered his herd of cattle that he couldn’t. In the end Sid made the leap and won the cattle from his brother. From then on, this spot has been known as Swasey’s Leap or Sid’s Leap. Later, a sheepherder named Paul Hansen built a bridge over the gap made of cottonwood logs and an old wagon box, but this old bridge collapsed and fell into the river sometime in 1997. While I have driven out to the end of the Swasey’s Leap Road once before, I never actually hiked out to Swasey’s Leap, so I was looking forward to finally checking it out this weekend!

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Spine of The Swell: San Rafael Reef Wilderness

Uneva Canyon & Three Fingers Canyon Loop
Saturday, January 11, 2020

For the past couple of years it seems like I always end up hiking on the San Rafael Reef at the beginning of the year in early to mid-January, so I guess this year is not going to be an exception! Maybe it’s because it’s an easy drive from home on I-70 and makes for a good day trip when there is snow on the ground in the desert. Anyway, this weekend Diane was supposed to go snowshoeing with a couple of her friends on the Grand Mesa so I planned to take it easy and go on a day trip to the San Rafael Reef on Saturday by myself. Although I have visited the petroglyphs at the mouth of Three Fingers Canyon a few times before, I had not really done much else in the area, so I decided to hike a loop combining Uneva Canyon and Three Fingers Canyon that would take me along the front and the back of the Reef in this area. Just like with the Muddy Creek Wilderness, this area also became an official Wilderness Area last year with the signing of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

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Muddy Creek Wilderness: Chimney Canyon

Veterans Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, November 8-11, 2019

While we have been spending the long Veterans Day Weekend backpacking somewhere along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon these past couple of years, this year I decided to find something a little closer to home since we just hiked down into Havasu Canyon a couple weeks ago and I didn’t really want to drive back to the Grand Canyon twice within a couple of weeks. After hiking through the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek last year and then floating through The Chute of Muddy Creek earlier this year, I felt that it was time to get back to exploring more of the brand new Muddy Creek Wilderness area with a backpacking trip into Chimney Canyon. While I have spent a lot of time in the San Rafael Swell over the years, I realized that I have never actually gone on a backpacking trip there, so this would be my very first backpacking trip in the Swell and most likely our last backpacking trip of the year, too.

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Little Grand Canyon: Floating the San Rafael River

Fuller Bottom to the Swinging Bridge
Friday – Sunday, June 21-23, 2019

When I decided to float The Chute of Muddy Creek a couple of weeks ago I thought at the time that I was making a decision between doing that or floating the San Rafael River this year. I really didn’t think that the San Rafael River would have enough water left for me to float it later this month and I had already made plans for last weekend’s trip through Slick Rock Canyon. I was very wrong about that and was surprised to see that it was still going to be flowing very high again this weekend, so I asked my friend Jackson if he wanted to join me on a day-trip through the Little Grand Canyon. I had talked to him a number of times over the years about floating this section of the San Rafael River and he was definitely up for going with me this time. This would be a great opportunity for us to float through the newly-created Sids Mountain Wilderness area.

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