Southern Utah Wanderings | Monday & Tuesday, October 5-6, 2020
After completing our loop through the Upper Paria River and Sheep Creek in the afternoon, we picked up my Jeep from near Dunham Spring and then drove into Tropic for dinner and fuel. We planned to hike Lick Wash in the morning since we wanted to make Tuesday an easier day, so after finishing up in Tropic we headed down the Skutumpah Road to find somewhere to camp closer to the trailhead. The first part of the Skutumpah Road was pretty washboarded with some deep potholes full of ‘moon dust‘ but once we got past the trailhead for Bull Valley Gorge (which has a brand new concrete bridge over the canyon) the road conditions were greatly improved and we were able to make better time. Both of us were both surprised to see a couple of low clearance sedans on the road and wondered how they made it through some of the rougher sections?
After passing the trailhead for Lick Wash in Dry Valley we decided to drive up Deer Springs Point Road and hoped to find a campsite at an overlook near the end. Unfortunately, what we found was a road that was narrow, sandy, rutted and rougher than we anticipated, and it didn’t even go to the edge of the mesa and just kind of ended in the middle of nowhere. All that new pinstriping on our Jeeps for nothing! It is definitely not a road I would ever feel the need to drive again. We figured that as long as we had already driven all the way up there that we might as well hike to the edge for a view just before sunset, so we found a spot to park and hiked through the forest to the edge of the mesa.
A sunset view from the top of the White Cliffs overlooking Nephi Pasture.
Looking straight down below the edge of the mesa to a wash that flows into Deer Spring Wash.
The view across Nephi Pasture to Little No Mans Mesa and Timber Mountain.
Here is one last shot before sunset from the edge of Deer Spring Point.
We returned to our vehicles just before sunset and had not really seen a good place to camp up on the mesa, so we decided to drive all the way back down to a spot we had seen near the beginning of the road. At least this way we wouldn’t have to drive back down this road in the morning and could get it over with this evening! When we arrived at the campsite we got set up in the dark and then went to bed after chatting for a while and watching the stars.
On Tuesday morning we woke up with the sunrise again, packed up camp and then drove back over to the Lick Wash Trailhead. When we left camp the temperature according to my Jeep was 41 degrees out, but it dropped down to 33 degrees by the time we arrived at the trailhead, so it was a bit cold when we first started hiking through the narrows of Lick Wash. If I recall correctly, this was the coldest temperature we would see all week!
Hiking through the narrows of Lick Wash.
The Ponderosa Pines found in this canyon are definitely what make it unique!
Lick Wash Sunstar
It seems we were here at a good time to catch the fall colors, too!
I liked how the narrow sandstone canyon walls framed the tree here.
After hiking through the narrows, the canyon opened up to the massive walls of the White Cliffs.
We spotted an interesting hoodoo above the canyon and followed this side wash to see if we could get up to it.
It turned out to be a very scenic side canyon.
Then it turned into a slot canyon…
We stopped at this chockstone because the slot got too narrow for us beyond it.
We found a place to climb out of the canyon and managed to get up to the hoodoo.
After continuing down Lick Wash to Park Wash we followed an old road below No Mans Mesa to the LeFevre Cabin at the foot of Calf Pasture Point. It was at this point that I realized we were following the Hayduke Trail again, which we had also done when we hiked through the Paria River and Sheep Creek the previous couple of days. It’s funny because all of the hikes we did this week all followed different parts of the Hayduke Trail. Although I have no desire to thru-hike the Hayduke Trail, I wouldn’t mind hiking the sections that I haven’t already been on that don’t follow roads.
The LeFevre Cabin
There was a cool old stove inside.
The Minnesota Stove Company
After checking out the cabin for a while we returned to Lick Wash and then hiked back out the way we had come in. By now the temperature out had warmed up quite a bit and we crossed paths with a number of other hikers who were in the narrows.
The light was much nicer in the narrows during our hike back out.
Fall colors in Lick Wash
Jared hikes ahead of me as we leave the last sections of narrows on our way back to the trailhead.
Once we returned to our vehicles at the trailhead we drove back across the Deer Range on the Skutumpah Road to Tropic so we could grab dinner again before we headed on to our next destination.