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Windy Weekend in The Swell

San Rafael Swell Rock Art XIV | Saturday & Sunday, April 29-30, 2017

Sid & Charley
Sid and Charley at sunset near my campsite in the San Rafael Swell.

After staying up late the last four nights in a row to attend concerts and then getting up for work early the following mornings, it was finally time for me to sleep in on Saturday! I woke up around 9:00am (I really cannot recall the last time I slept in that late), packed my camping gear into the Jeep and started driving west to the San Rafael Swell where I would spend the rest of the day hiking in canyons and searching for rock art. It was very windy out all day, which is pretty typical of springtime weather on the Colorado Plateau, but a cold front had moved through the area and the temperature was pretty cool out, too. I could have done without the wind, but the temperature was perfect for hiking! Here are a few photos from the day…

Exploring a large alcove.

Big Alcove

Big Sheep Panel

Big Sheep Panel

Canyon Water

Canyon Water

Newer designs pecked over older petroglyphs on a pretty big panel.

Old & New Designs

An interesting design…

Interesting Petroglyph

A beautiful day for hiking in North Salt Wash.

North Salt Wash

This is a nice panel of petroglyphs I spotted under a shallow overhang with no access from below.

Overhang Panel

Sunlit willows along the creek while moving my camera.


Not a great photo, but a very cool petroglyph.

Under The Rainbow

Claret Cup Cactus in bloom.

Claret Cup Cactus

Hiking through a short and narrow section of North Salt Wash.

The Narrows

Bison & Sheep

Bison & Sheep

Climbing back out the steep sandstone exit of North Salt Wash Canyon.

Climbing Out

Looking back down the canyon.

North Salt Wash Canyon

Overview of the rincon from the road along the rim of the canyon.

North Salt Wash Rincon

I briefly stopped at the Kings Crown Petroglyphs.

Kings Crown Petroglyphs

Driving down a sandy two-track under a nice sky.

Jeep Road

The Broken-Hearted Man

Broken-Hearted Man

Driving past Sid and Charley on my way to find a campsite for the night.

Sid and Charley Country

Beautiful golden light on the nearby sandstone.

Warm Sandstone

A spectacular view at sunset from my campsite to end the day.

San Rafael Swell Sunset

I didn’t really have any plans when I woke up on Sunday morning, so I decided to spend the morning driving around the area south of I-70 since it had been a long time since I’d been down that way. I took the main road all the way to Hidden Splendor and went for a short hike along the bank of Muddy Creek where it cuts through the San Rafael Reef. I would have liked to have hiked further into the gorge, but it was just too cold this morning to get wet and I hadn’t brought along the proper gear. I will have to return on a warmer day. While I was hiking along the creek, two small airplanes landed on the Hidden Splendor Airstrip which was cool to watch.

Morning light on Family Butte.

Family Butte

Wild horses kicking up dust on McKay Flat.

Running Away

An old abandoned car along the road with a nice view in the background.

Old Steel

Overlooking the gorge through the San Rafael Reef where Muddy Creek cuts through with the Henry Mountains in the distance.

The Reef

Muddy Creek down below.

Muddy Creek Canyon

One of the planes I saw coming in for a landing on the backcountry airstrip.

Coming In For A Landing

Hiking along muddy creek.

Muddy Creek

After leaving Hidden Splendor, I headed over to Tomsich Butte and Reds Canyon in Hondu Country. While I was in the area I hiked up to the old Dirty Devil Mine (Tomsich Butte Mine) and was disappointed to find that it was now sealed up. The last time I was here it was still open to explore. Then I finished the drive up Reds Canyon and returned to the interstate.

Hondu Arch in the distance.

Hondu Arch

The Dirty Devil Mine

Uranium Mine

All the mine shafts are now sealed up.

Sealed Shut

An old yellow truck cab.

Yellow Cab

After stopping at Ray’s Tavern in Green River for lunch I returned to one last rock art site before heading back home.

Overwrite Panel

Overwrite Panel

Two faded pictographs.

Faded Pictographs

A very interesting petroglyph panel with red paint remaining over some of the figures.

Red Paint Panel

The right side of the same panel.

Right Side

>> Windy Weekend in The Swell Photo Gallery

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