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Trip to the Canyons - Moab to Las Vegas

This segment of the trip takes Peter to Las Vegas to meet Diane who has been a Seattle.

The whole trip is only about 400 miles from Moab to Vegas so Friday evening was spent in Moab doing multiple loads of wash. That left Saturday to do some hiking on the way to Zion, Sunday to complete the trip to Zion, Monday to hike in Zion, and Tuesday to drive into Vegas. We had decided to leave the trailer in Zion and stay Tuesday night in a hotel in Vegas, then drive back to the trailer as a start to the trip home.

I had asked around to find the best hike and was recommended to try Wild Whores Canyon - sorry, that's Little Wild Horse Canyon - so I headed that way.

From the County Road at the bottom of the map, the canyon winds up to a fire road at the top which goes left around the mountain and finally, walking back down Bell Canyon completes a loop. A stroll upstream past some impressive cottonwood trees took me to the place that Little Wild Horse cuts up to the right.

Little Wild Horse is a "slot" canyon which means that the water rushes through a slot that is as little as a couple of feet wide and 100 feet deep. The combination is pretty awesome.

Being so narrow, various obstacles had lodged between the walls. The height of some of them indicated that it was a good idea not to get caught in a rainstorm. Yes, I checked the weather before I came here. I also had signed in at the trailhead complete with Diane's cell phone number - just in case

The trail was quite well populated and we had to use the same passing techniques as we had used on Scottish one-track roads - back up until there was a wide spot... Unless you were adept at rock-climbing chimneying techniques

After an hour an a quarter the trail opened out into a pretty valley filled with trees. Then, disaster, the trail was completely blocked by a gloomy, deep, mud-filled pool. I did not feel like swimming it without company to act as lookouts so I turned around. An excellent hike all told.

Afer getting back to the trail head, signing out and obliterating the phone number, the next stop was just down the road - Goblin Valley State Park. A weird set of formations.

I found two sets of sentinels at the entrance

By this time it was mid-afternoon and I pushed on to the Capitol Reef National Park. The whole area is called Escalante - stair case in Spanish. It is multiple layers of different kinds of sediment with very different rates of erosion each several hundred feet thick. The layers are tipped over at maybe a thirty degree angle and then worn down by millions of years of weather. This means that the landscape changes drastically over forty or fifty miles as the road winds across the different bands of rock.

There was a beautiful camp site at Fruita in the Park. So called because the early Mormon settlers used this valley to grow apples. There are still orchards.

Next morning it was on to Zion - an easy drive. On the way is a very long tunnel blasted out in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corp. The CCC was the government's reaction to the Depression - put a lot of men to work by having them improve National Parks and build engineering projects. The tunnel is not quite high enough for a travel trailer so they block the road, give the last car into the tunnel a baton to take to the ranger at the other end - just like a relay race. When the baton arrives the tunnel is clear and a trailer can go down the middle of the road. The last car carries the baton and the raod becomes two way again.

I stayed at the Watchman campground. So named for the mountain behind the camp

On Monday
the goal was
to climb the
Angels' Landing Trail.

The peak on the left.

Getting closer. First objective is the gap in the middle

The gap

Can you see the trail?

It's impressive engineering

With dressed stone!

And great switchbacks

Finally reaching the gap

From the gap the trail goes up Walter's Wiggles
(no, I don't know who Walter was)

Which obviously had water erosion problems because each switchback now has a drain to take run-off

The trail then becomes
a little more hairy.
Note the trail going up
at the top right of the sign

Even a Texas
Long Horn has to hang on

Coming back down
is not any easier either

...more and more hairy.

...worse yet


...The view is worth it

The next morning it was on to Vegas and a reunion

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