Deeper into Bighorn Canyon

Deeper into Bighorn Canyon

April 16, 2023

This week we hiked Bighorn canyon.  Though everyone in the group had done this one before, none of us felt we had completed it and the weather was beautiful so we all wanted to be outside.  When you hike Bighorn Canyon in Escalante, there is a fork you can take at the start of the canyon.  The left side is more commonly visited as it is very colorful and picturesque.  We had all been through the left side before, but several of us had not tried to go past some significant obstacles near the end where the canyon bottom becomes very narrow requiring you to climb up the walls a bit to continue, duck under a log, and climb up a branch to enter an upper chamber.  Everyone except me decided to bravely travel to the end of this west fork of Bighorn Canyon.  I followed until close to the end and then took a break and waited for their return in a cool and shady part of the canyon.  Slot canyons are beautiful formations in the desert.  There is also the highest concentration of them in the US in Utah.  However, they can also be deadly.  These narrow canyons can quickly make a flash flood deadly as water surges through these tight spaces crashing logs and debris into boulders.  Typically if a person is trapped in one of these canyons during a flash flood, the body is not found intact.  There can also be deep potholes in canyons that are impossible to climb out of if you descend into it.  Beyond these dangers can also be heights climbing damp and slick walls, potential rockfalls, or other hazards.  I don’t mean to be gruesome, but be sure to know your route before you go and the weather conditions expected that day within several miles as it could be bone dry where you hike to the canyon, but the other end of it could be experiencing heavy rain.  Carry the supplies you will need to be safe and inform someone where you are going and when you expect to return.  

Here are some pictures of our hike in the west fork of Bighorn.  I did not bring my camera this time so we just have to appreciate our iphone photos for this one.

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After the west fork we decided to check out the east fork.  Several of us had never been down this section.  The canyon walls on this side were much less steep, but we also noticed a lot more yellows in the rock patterns which was really stunning.  This east fork goes on much further than the west one.  We looked at our All Trails map at the point where we decided we would need to turn around and head back and realized that this fork went on for about a few miles and connects with Spencer Flat road.  I cam back and did a little research on this longer hike, biut I’m undecided on if I want to do it as I read there is an 8 foot drop along part of this canyon as well as narrow and deep spaces which make parts of the canyon dark.  Here is our happy crew at our turn around point and a view of the longer canyon at a point where the walls were low. I even did a pano with my phone which is our fun cover photo this week.

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I borrowed this picture of spiral stripes in the sandstone from our friend Grace, a woman of many talents.

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One of my friends here was complaining one day that her long hair formed knots like dreads if she didn’t keep it up in a ponytail most of the time.  This inspired us to start talking about dreading hair and that quickly led to us making plans with my friend Wendy to put dreads in our hair.  The journey with this began with just a few dreads at the base of the neck and is continuing tonight as we get more added.  I don’t really know much of anything about how to care for or maintain dreads, but I’m sure I can learn whatever I may need to know from the internet or our friend Wendy who has had them for years.  Here are my first two baby dreads.

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My friend Susane took me horseback riding one morning this week.  It’s been over 20 years since I’ve been on a horse, but she said it’s like riding a bike.  Her easiest horse to ride is also the largest horse I’ve ever been on.  I had to use all of my upper body strength to hoist myself up onto Luca, a very gentle Morgan Friesian horse.  I didn’t bring my camera or even my phone for this ride as I knew that if I dropped anything, I probably wasn’t going to dismount easily to retrieve it.  We went riding through a wash/large canyon area and some cliffy bits behind the Petrified Forest state park.  We didn’t see anyone else on the 2 hour ride.  It was beautiful, peaceful, and at times a little exciting.  My horse, Luca, needed to get up some steep and sandy parts at a trot in order to have the momentum he needed to move his huge body with me on him.  Descending the cliff was challenging so I dismounted and let Susane lead my horse down while she rode and I climbed down on foot.  I look forward to another ride with her once I get over the soreness in my thighs from this ride.  I stopped by her horse later this week to snap a couple of photos of the horse I rode.  Here he is alone and next to one of his horse buddges.

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After a busy week Dobby let us know he wanted to go out running by finding inventive new ways to pester Sophie.

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We took them to Alvey wash to run and we all had a great time exploring.

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That concludes the adventures from this week.  We are getting excited for some friends who should be visiting soon and my mother and her boyfriend coming in just over a month.  My friend Grace is building her own camper van here which is interesting.  Luke has started having regular band practice for a show he was invited to play in for the Wild Potato Festival in town next month.  We haven’t recorded any episodes of the podcast yet…there’s too many interesting things to do and we’re in no hurry.  

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