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Tag: wilderness

West Pollock Arch & Window Rock Tower

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Sunday, June 7, 2020

This weekend I was hoping to get back on the river with a couple of friends again, but it seems that Mother Nature had other plans for us. Between severe thunderstorms on Saturday and very strong winds on Sunday, we decided it was best to cancel our river plans this weekend and try again another time. On Sunday afternoon I decided it was time to get out of the house for a little while and went on a short local hike to visit West Pollock Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Even though it was windy out, the temperature had dropped significantly because of the passing storm on Saturday, making it perfect weather for hiking. Plus I figured the strong winds would help keep the gnats away that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. I left home in the middle of the afternoon and drove over Black Ridge to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead to start my hike. When I arrived there was only one other vehicle at the trailhead and they were just leaving. I was surprised since it was a nice day and this is usually a popular trailhead. After descending to the lower Rattlesnake Arches Trail on the bench below I headed east past Window Rock Tower to the rim of the West Fork of Pollock Canyon.

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Dark Canyon Wilderness: Woodenshoe Canyon

Friday – Monday, May 15-18, 2020

This weekend I was supposed to be backpacking with Diane in Canyonlands National Park, but since the park is still closed due to COVID-19 they cancelled my second permit there this spring. At this point I guess that I will just have to try again next year. While looking into alternate plans for the weekend the weather forecast was predicting much warmer temperatures across the Southwest, so I tried to find someplace that was a little higher in elevation where it might be cooler, and after weighing my options I decided it was finally time to check out Woodenshoe Canyon in the Dark Canyon Wilderness. Although I’ve driven around the edges of this wilderness area before, this is one part of the Colorado Plateau that I have ignored for far too long! With the change in plans, Diane decided that she was going to stay home this weekend so I invited my friend Jerry to join me on this four day trip. Unfortunately, this was one of those rare trips where things didn’t quite go as planned and we ended up cutting the trip short and headed home a day early.

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Lonesome Lips Arch & Horsethief Canyon Overlook

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Thursday, May 7, 2020

This evening I headed out after work again to continue my local arch hunting endeavors within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. I drove over Black Ridge for the second time this week, but this time I continued all the way to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead at the very end of the road. I had no intentions of visiting the popular arches in Rattlesnake Canyon this evening, instead, I was going to look for the lesser-known Lonesome Lips Arch which is located at the edge of a small mesa above a short unnamed canyon that is closer to the Colorado River. As I started descending the Rattlesnake Arches Trail I quickly spotted the arch I was looking at far below and headed that direction.

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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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