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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 3

Thursday – Sunday, March 25-28, 2021

This weekend Jerry and I were planning to go on a three-day backpacking trip in Capitol Reef National Park, but as the weekend got closer the weather forecast was not looking good. The forecast was calling for much cooler temperatures with rain and snow which would not have been good for the narrow water-filled canyon we wanted to hike, so it looked like we would be changing our plans. Instead, we decided to head further south to Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa since we knew we would be able to work around the weather there no matter what it did. I left after work on Friday afternoon and headed south to meet up with Jerry. After getting stuck in traffic for a while just before entering Moab, I drove through some pretty strong winds with snow from about Monticello to Blanding. I met Jerry at the Butler Wash Ruins just after sunset and we decided to camp along Comb Wash, just in case there was a lot of precipitation overnight and the roads got muddy. As predicted, there was more rain and snow overnight so on Friday we stuck to the lower elevations and did a little hiking on Comb Ridge. Later in the day things had started to dry out so we headed up onto Cedar Mesa for the rest of the weekend. Here are some photos from our weekend spent below the Bears Ears.

Juniper Log Ruin

Juniper Log Ruin

Here’s a view from the other side showing the juniper log used in the construction of this ruin.

Juniper Log

Assorted potsherds found in front of a ruin.


A smaller ruin located inside a larger room, like a closet or cupboard.

Closet Space

Storm clouds clearing over a canyon.

Canyon Clouds

Little Ledge Ruin

Ledge Ruin

An interesting petroglyph panel we spotted.

Alcove Petroglyph Panel

Colorful streaks on a canyon wall.


The Door

The Door

This was probably the highlight of the weekend for me. We found this colorful pendant made of shell in a large alcove. Very cool!

Shell Pendant

Little Citadel Ruin

Little Citadel Ruin

An evening view from one of our campsites on Cedar Mesa.

Afternoon Camp View

This was probably the strangest ruin we found all weekend. This alcove contained two straight walls that were parallel to each other and located on opposite ends of the alcove. We’ve never seen anything like it before.

Strange Wall

This is the other side of the same wall.

Strange Wall II

This is part of the wall that is found on the other side of the alcove. Just behind it there appeared to be a cist that was looted in the past. It was a very unusual site.

The Other Wall

Rectangle Room

Rectangle Room

A colorful cove he hiked through.

Colorful Cove

Clearing clouds over Comb Ridge.

Clouds Over The Comb

A nice point that Jerry spotted near a ruin.

Nice Point

Petroglyphs high on a canyon wall.

High Petroglyphs

Walking the rim of a Cedar Mesa canyon.


Collapsed Roof Kiva

Collapsed Roof Kiva

A nice grinding stone that was found on a ledge far away from any other ruins or rock art.

Grinding Stone

Jerry walking around a large pothole on the mesa top.

Pothole Reflection

Two Doors

Two Doors

>> Cedar Mesa Chronicles 3 Photo Gallery


  1. Rob Shields
    Rob Shields May 9, 2021

    I love this. Thanks for sharing. I’ll buy your book when you finish it.
    Southwest paths?

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat May 9, 2021

      I think you are currently reading the closest thing to a book that I will ever publish!

  2. Stephanie Smith Barnard
    Stephanie Smith Barnard May 9, 2021

    That pendant was a great find!

  3. Dan
    Dan May 9, 2021

    Wow, this is great. I was just in the area (as you know) but didn’t make it to Butler Wash. Just another reason – among many – to head back.

    I must say, the series of posts this weekend has been inspiring!

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat May 9, 2021

      Thanks! Been trying to get caught up, but still a few posts to go…

  4. P Bergh
    P Bergh May 10, 2021

    Great post. Been two years now that I have not been able to make my annual trip to that area due to Covid. Your photos and trip reports help make it a bit more tolerable. Some great finds. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Dianne
    Dianne May 11, 2021

    Thanks for these of Cedar Mesa. I saw some new sites, and I particularly loved seeing the Comb and the canyons. I am forgetting how beautiful it all is. Thanks for the posts. A treasure!

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