Christmas Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, December 23-24, 2017
Since we were planning on spending our Christmas in Arches National Park like we do every year, we headed over to Moab on Saturday morning so we could spend the entire holiday weekend in the area. Earlier in the week when I was finalizing our rough plans for the trip I was expecting that there would still be none to minimal snow on the ground for our trip because even though there was a winter storm predicted toward the end of the week, I really didn’t think it would affect the area too much. Boy, was I wrong! Well, actually I was right about the Grand Junction area since we didn’t get any snow that stuck around, however, the storm seemed to be centered right over the area surrounding Moab and dumped about 6-10 inches there! We tried to continue on with our original plans at first, but we ended up having to cancel or change some of the hikes since they would have been too dangerous with all the snow and ice on the ground, even with our microspikes. In the end I acted as a tour guide for Diane as we revisited many easily accessible rock art sites that I hadn’t been to in a while.
On our way to our first hiking destination of the weekend we stopped at an overlook of Monitor & Merrimac Buttes near the edge of Sevenmile Canyon as the sun came out.
Monitor & Merrimac Buttes tower over a snow-covered desert landscape.
Highway 313 cuts through Sevenmile Canyon below the overlook.
Off the pavement and onto the snow-packed road near Lone Mesa.
The snow was deeper than we expected when we reached the rim of Hell Roaring Canyon, but we decided to try hiking into the canyon as we had originally planned.
The route into the canyon turned out to be too treacherous with the snow and ice on the rocks, so we ended up cancelling our original plans and just explored the rim of the canyon a little.
Frozen potholes and Hell Roaring Canyon.
We visited these small Barrier Canyon Style petroglyphs.
A slab of sandstone covered with Ute petroglyphs.
We did end up hiking up a steep and slippery slope to the top of the mesa between Courthouse Wash and Mill Canyon.
A beautiful view from the top of the snow-covered mesa.
Snow swirls and the La Sal Mountains.
A nice view of the upper Courthouse Wash area.
As we were driving back to Moab it looked like there might have been a nice sunset, so I took a short detour into Arches National Park and stopped at an overlook of the La Sal Mountains.
We turned around at Balanced Rock and then headed back into town for dinner.
We spent most of Sunday visiting rock art sites in the Colorado River Gorge along the Potash Road and hiking up a few short canyons just off the river. While Saturday was pretty sunny out with nice clouds in the sky and warmer temperatures, it was overcast and much colder on Sunday.
There are six toes on this large petroglyph of a foot.
The Water Bird Panel
Push Me – Pull Me
Three toes and three fingers.
A very nice panel of petroglyphs found along the river.
A closer look at my favorite part.
Diane hiking through the snow in Long Canyon.
Snow & Petroglyphs
We went for a short hike up an unnamed canyon not too far from the Corona Arch Trail.
It was on this hike that I realized I don’t like bushwhacking in the snow. Not only are all the branches weighed down and hanging lower than usual from the snow resting on them, but every time you touch them the snow falls onto you…
Diane nearing the large dryfall at the end of the canyon.
Icicles & Snow
A beautiful winter scene at the end of the canyon.
Looking back down the canyon after climbing up onto a sandstone bench to check out a large alcove.
Hiking back down the canyon through snow-covered trees.
The Bear Panel
Even though I had pointed out the Courthouse Wash Pictograph Panel to Diane a few times before, she had never seen it up close, so we made sure to do that today.
Long-Nosed Sheep. This is a small petroglyph panel Diane spotted as we were driving by.
The High Panel