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North Fork of Mule Canyon

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kiva Ruin
An interesting ruin located behind a kiva in a shallow alcove on Cedar Mesa.

I woke up on Tuesday morning to the coldest temperature on the trip so far (my Jeep said it was 34 degrees out). I woke up shortly before sunrise and decided to head down to Blanding for breakfast. I was planning on taking things pretty easy today and having more of a rest day, so I was in no hurry to get anywhere. While I was in town picking up some supplies I ran into my friend Rick, whom I hadn’t seen in a while and it was nice to catch up with him for a few minutes. When I was done in town I drove back up onto Cedar Mesa for an easy day hike in the North Fork of Mule Canyon. The South Fork of Mule Canyon is a pretty popular hike that I’ve done a few times before, but I had never been up into the North Fork. Even though the South Fork is usually pretty busy, I never hear of many people going to the North Fork so I had hoped it wouldn’t be near as busy. It turns out that it wasn’t, and I only ran into one small group of people during the hike. It was a leisurely hike with a few nice ruins to explore along the way.

There was plenty of water throughout the canyon, especially near the beginning.

North Fork Reflection

The first granary I spotted is just under the sandstone point straight ahead.

Granary Spotted

Low Ruin

This was an interesting ruin to explore with the remains of a kiva in front.

Kiva Ruin

A good look at the roof beams and if you look closely you can see fingerprints all over the mortar of the structure from the original builders. Very cool!

Roof Beams

Spiral petroglyphs in the smoke stains.

Smoke Signals

Hiking along the bench in search of other ruins.

Bench Walking

A complex of ruins located under the large overhang ahead.

Hiking Sandstone

A closer look from below.

Overhang Ruins

After visiting the large complex of ruins, I found a way to hike back to the granary I originally spotted under the point.

Point Granary

Point Granary Doorway

After spending a few hours in the canyon, I returned to my Jeep and decided to drive up to the Arch Canyon Overlook since it was nearby and I hadn’t been up that way in many years.

There’s a nice view over Arch Canyon from up here, but it would probably look better later in the evening.

Arch Canyon Overlook

After visiting the overlook I headed back down to Blanding for dinner and to meet up with Jared. He had just finished mountain biking The White Rim over the past two days and was meeting up with me for a couple days of hiking together. When he arrived we headed up to Step Point on Cedar Mesa along the old Hole-in-the-Rock route and setup camp for the evening.

>> North Fork of Mule Canyon Photo Gallery

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