It was another “moderately strenuous” hike. It wasn’t steep but it was much more undeveloped than any other we had been on. Of course today was the first day we decided to wear shorts. We both ended up with lots of scratches from the bushes.
The hike starts at almost the eastern edge of the park. It goes up a slot canyon between Checkerboard Mesa and Crazy Quilt Mesa and ends at a saddle between the two.
There were a bunch of cars parked in the pullout but we didn’t see anyone during the hike. Afterwards we saw someone coming out and he said a group of them had gone farther than we had so we missed them.
More pools at the start, just off the road.
Crazy Quit Mesa.
We started on flat sand at the start of the wash.
As the canyon closed in it got rougher and rougher.
There were a few obstacles to get around but there was always a trail of some sort up the sides.
At one point we were faced with climbing over the stump and boulders behind it.
Or going around it by climbing up the rocky hill.
We chose the stump. It turns out that on the way back we found that there is a trail that starts at the top of the rocky hill that avoids a lot of the obstacles down in the wash. Oh well.
It opened up a bit, back to the slickrock, just before the saddle at the end of the canyon, that you can see in the distance below.
At one point, on matching sides of the canyon were these short section of very pockmarked wall.
The east side.
The west side.
Once we got to the base of the saddle the wash turned into this.
We were a bit worried about trying to navigate through the boulders but on looking around we found a trail up on the side. It was very sandy and steep. It seemed like two steps forward and 1/2 step sliding back but it was better than boulders.
At the top of the saddle the trail continues for another kilometer to a viewpoint for a large arch but it meant going back down a long way and on the return climbing back up again. We decided to stop at the saddle, have lunch and then head back.
We found a nice shady spot with a smooth log that had obviously been used a lot. I checked for cactus first.
The view to the south.
The view to the north, the way we came, back up the canyon.
These guys are everywhere. They are only 3 or 4 inches long.
Heading back down was much easier. You could almost surf on the sand.
We saw this lovely little red needles on some sort of pine tree that I had never seen before.
Jennie barely had to duck down to go under this fallen tree.
At the start of the hike we had just walked down the south bank of the highway without really looking at the other side. When we got back we saw a tunnel so we went through.
It turned out that on the north side is a great bit of slickrock that went a long way up. It seemed to be steep but climbable.
Just below that upper band of trees were some people working their way down.
Part of the way there was a layer of lava. It being harder than the sandstone, it protected the stone underneath and created some hoodoos.
Jennie stayed and explored the hoodoos while I climbed up higher. She got some great pictures but unfortunately the settings on her camera got screwed up and most were very grainy and over exposed.
I am inside the red circle below.
Looking back down at Jennie. You can see the highway in the background.
A look across the highway at the canyon we just hiked.
Here is a panorama from my viewpoint.
We both stared and explored for a while before heading back down to the car and home.