Friday, March 25, 2016
The Alcove on Top Rock in the Coyote Buttes North area.
Earlier this year I realized that it had been a while since the last time I visited Coyote Buttes North, so I tried to get another permit for this spring and managed to obtain one for today. Little did I know at the time that I would be buying a new Jeep the weekend before this trip and it would make for a nice first road trip in the new vehicle. Besides getting to spend the long weekend thoroughly testing out my new Jeep on the highway and offroad, I would spend much of the day revisiting my favorite places in Coyote Buttes North, plus I’d spend some time exploring a few of the areas I had not been to before. By the end of the day I had hiked about 15 miles total and enjoyed every second of it!
I left work early on Thursday and drove down to Page where I grabbed a bite to eat for dinner before continuing on to House Rock Valley Road in search of a campsite. I found a nice small site just south of the Arizona border and setup camp as the evening light faded. It had been a long day of driving and I quickly went to sleep so I could get an early start in the morning. When the morning arrived, I was up well before sunrise and quickly made my way over to the Wire Pass Trailhead. I was the first one here (which is usually the case) and started hiking in the dark. The almost-full moon provided me with just enough light that I never had to turn on my headlamp. I’ve hiked this route a few times in the dark before, so route-finding has become pretty easy and I made good time as I hiked over to The Boneyard above Sand Cove to catch the sunrise.
Circle in the stone as it started to get light out before sunrise.
Beautiful colors in the soft light of dawn at The Boneyard.
The sun soon made it’s first appearance of the day.
Sunrise at The Boneyard.
Warm light on colorful sandstone.
A bigger hoodoo I climbed up to.
Beautiful colors near the Second Wave.
This rock sure looks like a hamburger from this side.
Of course, I had to stop at The Passage since it’s one of my favorite places.
Me and my shadow above The Wave.
I just can’t seem to get enough of the lines and colorful sandstone found around here!
After visiting The Wave for the first time of the day, I climbed up to Top Rock Arch for a view of the surrounding terrain. From up here I saw the first pair of people I would run into during the day.
I returned back to The Wave for a few more photos without shadows. While I was here I would run into the two people I had seen from above. I was surprised that I hadn’t seen anyone until after 10:00am.
I climbed up Top Rock and returned to The Grotto and Melody Arch where I had my lunch break.
Then I visited The Alcove, another of my favorite places.
A knob on Top Rock above The Wave.
I returned to The Wave one more time and talked to a few people who were there, including a guide from Kanab who was showing a few people around.
My legs were starting to get tired at this point so I returned to Sand Cove and sat down for a while to rest.
After my rest I decided to follow Sand Cove Wash back down to the typical route most people follow to reach The Wave.
However, when I reached the route back to the trailhead I realized that I had never hiked down Sand Cove Wash beyond this point and thought it might be a good idea to see what laid ahead. I’m glad that I did…
When I was done hiking down the wash I climbed back out and hiked cross country back to the route to the trailhead. I had a nice view of The Dive from up here.
I guess I wasn’t feeling like following the standard route back to the trailhead today because when I reached it I decided instead to visit the Water Hole.
After sitting along the shore of the Water Hole for a bit I hiked over to the nearby pass to check out the view. From there I realized I could find a way down the steep sandstone to the wash below and connect back up with the normal trail. A nice little shortcut!
Following the wash back towards the trail.
When I reached the trail I decided to keep following the wash a little ways since I had never gone this way before, either. This was the point where I turned around and headed back to the trail which I followed back to the trailhead. It had been a great day of hiking and exploring!