Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Sunday, June 7, 2020
This weekend I was hoping to get back on the river with a couple of friends again, but it seems that Mother Nature had other plans for us. Between severe thunderstorms on Saturday and very strong winds on Sunday, we decided it was best to cancel our river plans this weekend and try again another time. On Sunday afternoon I decided it was time to get out of the house for a little while and went on a short local hike to visit West Pollock Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Even though it was windy out, the temperature had dropped significantly because of the passing storm on Saturday, making it perfect weather for hiking. Plus I figured the strong winds would help keep the gnats away that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. I left home in the middle of the afternoon and drove over Black Ridge to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead to start my hike. When I arrived there was only one other vehicle at the trailhead and they were just leaving. I was surprised since it was a nice day and this is usually a popular trailhead. After descending to the lower Rattlesnake Arches Trail on the bench below I headed east past Window Rock Tower to the rim of the West Fork of Pollock Canyon.
There was a nice view over Rattlesnake Canyon as I made my way to the trailhead. Besides the fast-moving clouds in the sky, there was also a bit of smoke in the air from new wildfires burning near Sieber Canyon and Jones Canyon.
As I descended the trail to the bench below, I had a good view over the mesa I had just hiked across last month during my to visit Lonesome Lips Arch.
On my way to the rim of the West Fork of Pollock Canyon I passed by Window Rock Tower, also known as South American Arch and Aztec Arch. I didn’t stop for long since I knew I’d be coming back this way.
Along the way I stopped to explore a few small alcoves in the Entrada Sandstone.
Looking out over Pollock Canyon from one of the alcoves.
A dead end while exploring another little alcove.
Soon I reached the base of West Pollock Arch, which was the arch I had come to see.
After visiting the arch, I decided to keep following the bench I was on to the sandstone fingers in the middle of this photo.
I hiked through this colorful alcove along the way.
The Grand Valley over the confluence of the two forks of Pollock Canyon.
The clouds and light were pretty nice this evening.
On my way back I caught a sunstar through West Pollock Arch.
Sandstone domes under clouds.
I stopped at Window Rock Tower on my way back for a couple more photos.
At this point I was considering hiking over to the arches in Rattlesnake Canyon for sunset, but I could tell that the clouds were dissipating quickly and I didn’t think they would stick around for sunset, so I skipped that plan. It turned out to be a good choice because as I was driving back across Black Ridge a little while later I noticed that there were almost no clouds left in the sky.