This was a nice weekend of falling in love with the Utah desert. The weekend of 11 Nov 06 was a three day weekend, so I headed down to southern Utah to do some good canyoneering. I went Thursday night by myself and camped just outside of Goblin Valley State Park. I got up bright and early on Friday and hiked the Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon loop in the San Rafael Swell. Little Wild Horse was a great slot canyon. It wasn’t technical at all, but it had some really long stretches of slot. And then I really liked the desert hiking between Little Wild Horse and Bell. I don’t know what it was, but I had been on call for work for two weeks in a row, so I had pretty much been cooped up for almost three weeks. As a result, I was REALLY stir crazy and needed a solitude fix. So, when I came out of Little Wild Horse into the desert I had planned on taking a break and doing some reading. But when I stopped, my ears actually HURT from the complete and total silence of the desert morning. It was incredible. I actually had to keep moving just to keep my ears from hurting from the silence. So after over a year in Utah I finally fell in love with the desert. I need that silence.
Then I dropped down into Bell Canyon, and it was getting later in the day, so I passed a couple of groups of people and the spell was broken. Bell wasn’t as much a slot as Little Wild Horse, but it was still nice. Then I got back to the truck, tried to do some four-wheeling, chickened out, did some easier driving in the desert, got another flat tire, drove back to Green River, got the tire fixed, and then met Tracy. We stayed the night in Green River and then got up the next morning to hike in The Maze of Canyonlands.
Well, we drove 50 miles of dirt roads for hours, before I finally chickened out because my tires weren’t in the best shape. We never made it to the Maze. I honestly don’t think anyone could get to the Maze, hike anything significant, and get back out in less than four days. That was, by far, the most remote place I have ever been to. But we turned around and went back to Horseshoe Canyon and did lots of hiking there. Horseshoe was nice with its old pictographs. We did some speed hiking in that canyon, but we had a great time. The next day we did lots of exploring in the northern end of the San Rafael Swell. All in all, I put about 140 miles on my truck on dirt roads in three days. That’s an amazing amount of seclusion that I have never done before. So it was a great weekend.