Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

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robertseeburger
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Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by robertseeburger » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:29 am

A group of six guys met to do a backpack in Canyonlands (Utah) NP for a week. We came from Colorado (3), New Mexico (2), and California (1--me) and converged on Squaw Creek campground. I drove about 16 hours to get their stopping in Nevada midway (route 50--the loneliest highway in America). Got 1 speeding ticket in Utah (sigh). The focus of the trip was a 4 day trip and a 3 day trip ( separated for water reasons) in the Needles area.

We started up the trail to Lost Canyon. Very easy to start.
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The trail was either thick sand ( very slow) or over rolling hard rock. When on hard rock the trail was well marked with ducks.
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Sometimes the trail went UNDER ledges ( had to lean over with pack to get by) and some times the trail sloped down to a drop off. Nothing dangerous but
not for everyone.
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We saw a couple of deer. No other mammals except bats. Lots of bats nests...
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At one point the trail went THRU a crack. We had to take off our packs and pass them to squeeze through.
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Also there were several ladders strategically placed. They were no problem without a pack and poles but presented just a little bit of spice to do with pack and poles.
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Another interesting view/feature.
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There are a couple of really nice arches in Canyonlands. You dont have to go to Arches NP to see them.
Here is Druid Arch. This was reached via a 4 mile round trip side trail. Most of the people we saw here were day hikers.
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The next feature we saw was on the "joint trail". I have seen several similar narrow canyons elsewhere, but this one was quite good.
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Near the joint trail is Chesler Park. This is just a wonderful area. No water. Plus you have to pack out your own ****.
But a really beautiful feel to it.
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No fires are allowed here. But I did bring a new device for backpacking. It is a Luci solar light. It is about 2 ounces and provided really good light. It has a couple of settings including an SOS setting. It was very bright and was a hit with the group, including people sitting around it, just like a campfire.
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Part 2 to follow.
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robertseeburger
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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by robertseeburger » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:02 am

Part 2. On the second part of the trip we went up Salt Creek. The hike from Squaw Creek Campground to Salt Creek was fascinating. It went over ridges and around several canyons, each a little bit different. At one point we went through a notch.
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Another ladder. I wish the rungs on this one we closer together. Plus, with a pack in the narrow crevice there was no room for maneuvering. But it was fun.
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Cocktail hour.
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Another formation worth a picture.
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One of my friends doesn't have experience with bear cannisters. They are required for Salt Creek. I woke up and found this is where he put it.
He needs a little education on where to locate. ( no issue this time!)
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We decided that this one was the face of a tiger.
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This is what the campgrounds look like. This is SC4 ( Salt creek 4). You have to reserve the designated campgrounds for backpacking.
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One of the delightful features of Salt Creek is the many Anasazi ruins. They are not marked on maps. I think if we did research we could have found out where they were. But the technique we used was ...look up! There was one that was very special . It had multiple rooms, graineries, pottery shards and arrowhead shards. Also several very good petroglyphs. A couple of shots.
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I think the best arch of the trip was Angel Arch. It is reached via a 1.7 mile side trip from Salt Creek. The feature next to it is called the Molar.
No day hikers here.
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This is what it was like filling up with water. This is near Peekaboo campground. Obviously a good filter is required.
A note on water.. while I didn't run out, I didn't take enough and had to conserve on the first part of the trip.
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I am not an expert on Canyonlands. This was my first visit. I will summarize a couple of key learnings though.
It is a great place to visit in April, when snow limits activity in the Sierras!

Lesson 1)..permits. April is one of the prime months. Permits are available 4 months in advance. Mike the leader from our party made the permits exactly 4 months in advance in the mornings when each site would be available and already some of them were taken by 8AM. So, if this is on your list, make reservations early.

Lesson 2) ... water water water. Everyone bough MSR 6 liter water pouches. I cheated a little and tried to take a one 6liter pouch and filled a 4 liter camelback also. It wasn't enough and I should have known better. It wasn't an issue. But the weather was mile (70 degrees in day). It could have been hotter. It wasn't dangerous to cheat on water as we would have just had to abort the trip. But if you go dont cheat.. even though it is heavy.

Lesson 3) boots. Everyone reads wear good boots when you go hiking. However, it really applies here, especially if it is wet. You really want a grip on the rock as it is steep in places. So wear good boots.

Over, this is wonderful area to go in this timeframe. It is probably too hot ( for me) in summer. You can do a lot of things with day trips as well, and staying in Moab is doable. Now.....back to thinking about the summer in the Sierra!
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Harlen
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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by Harlen » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:44 am

Congratulations on a great trip- you got off while I'm just cursing the weather pattern in the Sierra (Frank and I just cancelled another ski trip today!)

Isn't it nice to explore new country? We especially like the look of that "Chesler Park" area. Wouldn't it be nice to follow river courses, and avoid carrying all of the water? Paria Canyon is nice that way. Nice work! The Harlens.
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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by robow8 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:16 pm

Nice TR. You didn’t get your ticket in Helper, did you?

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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by Tom_H » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:59 pm

Nice TR. I plan to do the off-road vehicle trails there when I get my Sportsmobile.

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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by Dwwd » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:22 pm

Given the altitude and terrain, roughly how far did you walk each day?

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robertseeburger
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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by robertseeburger » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:08 am

I got my ticket between Provo and Moab...officer very nice.. and actually gave me a break..

We saw a lot of off road vehicles in the area...looks to me that this is kind of a "cult" thing in the area...

We walked between 5 and 10 miles per day. It wasn't very aggressive. This was a little a little bit longer if you include side trips to arches without packs.
The worst day was the first ( as always).. with heavy packs laden with water and the hike up Lost Canyon was thick sand.
But the terrain is slow no matter what...but not really difficult. We could have done more but were primarily limited by the campsites chosen at time of reservation.

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Re: Trip report Canyonlands NP 4-1-18 to 4-8-18

Post by rightstar76 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:31 am

Koyaanisqatsi. That's what came to mind when I saw the pictures of the Anasazi ruins. Thanks for sharing.

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