Photos from the Canyon Lands Long Lost Wilderness Tour 2021 with Carl, Shannon and the Smoochies
San Rafael Swell
Three nights in the Mexican Mountain Wilderness of the San Rafael Swell. The days and nights went round with breakfast, hiking, cocktail hour, dinner and starlight. The whole trip's travel window ran from the dark moon, through full and back to black again.
Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel is my first experience with the ancient stone drawings. It is astounding to see the work of humans hands from so long ago.
Black Box Canyon is a steep drop canyon stained with an exceptionally dark stone patina. Walking the rim lets you glimpse a bend of the river at the bottom. As deep as the canyon may be now, the San Rafael River is not done with it yet.
Gator Man Canyon, aka Red Canyon got its name from a reptilian face in the rocks where the canyon splits. Lizards were also about and I found a green gator-head stone with alligatory eyes. (No picture but I have Gator Man's stone head on the front porch.)
The draw led up between the cliffs and to a free standing tower of stone. We followed the dry streambed until we reached a thicket of willows and a series of small swampy pools. The expedition turned around when we ran out of canyon. By that time I had broken in my shoes and they had broken my feet with my first round of blisters.
As soon as the path cleared the loose sharp rocks I reached down and touched the path. I smiled. Off went the socks and Sketchers so my shod weary feet could seek comfort in the cool soft sand of the draw. The road was rough and gravely in places but much better than bloody heals and band aides. I walked barefoot all the way home.
Also - it rained. It rained a lot. The Smoochies and I go to Utah and somehow it becomes one of the wettest desert journeys on memory. It rained all the way through Washington, Idaho, Montana and back to Idaho on the way down. A Utah storm followed us to the Swell and came in on the same road we did. There would be more moisture later. This is just the beginning of 30 Wet Days in the Desert.
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