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Roaming on The Reef: Hurst Bridge

Backcountry Fest 2019 | Friday – Saturday, April 5-6, 2019

I was originally supposed to spend this entire weekend with Diane in the San Rafael Swell at the very first Backcountry Fest, but then Underoath announced a concert in Grand Junction on Saturday night that we wanted to go to which kind of messed up our plans. Instead of cancelling the weekend trip completely, I decided that I would still head down on Friday evening to meet up and hang out with the group at a campsite near Temple Mountain, and then I would go for a shorter hike by myself on Saturday morning before heading back home to attend the concert later in the evening. Thankfully this event wasn’t too far from home!

I left right from work on Friday afternoon, grabbed a quick dinner in Fruita and then continued west into Utah. As I left the main road that goes off to Goblin Valley State Park and followed South Temple Wash towards the campsite, I was amazed at just how many trailers and RVs were camped along here this weekend! I’ve never seen so many in one place, it was absolutely crazy! I arrived about an hour before sunset and then hung out with everyone that was there until almost midnight. It was nice meeting everyone and I had a good time around the campfire.

Welcome to Backcountry Fest!

BackcountryPost Fest 2019

Hanging out around the campfire on Friday evening. This was just a small part of the group that was there.

Around The Fire

This banana walks into camp…

This banana walks into camp...

The was a brief touch of magenta in the sky over Temple Mountain after sunset.

Temple Mountain

After staying up late (although not near as late as some people) on Friday, this was my view when I woke up on Saturday morning.

Sunrise View

I took a short walk around the campsite waiting for the others to get up.

Morning From Camp

We were camped just below Flat Top.

Flat Top

After say goodbye and heading out to do my own hiking for the day, I drove by Wild Horse Butte and stopped for a photo since the clouds looked nice.

Wild Horse Butte

Then I went hiking up a wash in search of a red pictograph that Dennis had told me about the previous night.

Wash & Clouds

Morning Hike

The big red Fremont pictograph I was looking for!

Big Red Fremont Pictograph

Next I headed further north so I could hike up the San Rafael Reef to visit Hurst Bridge, but along the way I made a short detour to check out this oil derrick that was built out of an old vehicle.

Oil Derrick

Behind The Wheel

Behind The Wheel

The Engine


Next I started hiking up Ernie Canyon on my way to the natural bridge.

Ernie Canyon Wash

There were nice clouds in the sky as I started climbing up the Reef. As I was climbing up this part of the Reef I realized that this was the warmest day that I have been hiking so far this year and that my body needs to get used to hiking in the heat again!

Domes & Clouds

There was a pretty nice view into Ernie Canyon from where I walked over to the edge.

Ernie Canyon

Cut Through The Reef

Climbing higher up the Reef and further away from Ernie Canyon as I went arch hunting.

Climbing The Reef

First I came across Bent Arch from the top.

Reef View

Then I climbed down below the arch for this view.

Bent Arch

After hiking across more slickrock I finally had my first view of Hurst Bridge. It was more impressive than I expected it to be!

First View of the Bridge

Here’s a view from underneath Hurst Bridge. While I was resting under the arch it started to rain a little bit, but it didn’t last very long.

Hurst Bridge

Hiking through the narrow canyon below Hurst Bridge on my way back down to the trailhead.

Canyon Exploring

Reef Canyon

During the last mile of the hike back to the trailhead it started to rain pretty good and I got soaked! The temperature out was still very nice so it felt good and I didn’t bother to put on any rain gear. I’ve missed the smell of rain in the desert!

>> Roaming on The Reef Photo Gallery

One Comment

  1. Dianne
    Dianne April 7, 2019

    Great job. Colors so nice under cloudy skies. Rugged place.

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