Monday, September 24, 2012

Glen Canyon National Recreational Area

Trail to Joshua Hamblin Arch
So the next stretch of my trip was getting to Joshua Hamblin Arch which is deep in Glen Canyon.  After going to the rangers station I headed to "hole in a rock" road for 33 miles in my rental car. I figured it would take about 45min to an hour to get to the trail head.  Wrong, more like 2.5 hours.  The road was in bad need of grading.  I had to go around 10-20m/hr to prevent the car from jiggling apart.  The ripples in the road were so bad.   After a bit of a slow start, I finally found the trail head (above picture), a dried up river bed call "hurricane wash."  I quickly packed my pack for an overnight hike and hit the trail at 4pm.  I was slightly worried as I saw some dark clouds in distance and it had slightly rained on my way there.  They say to be cautious for flash floods in such conditions.  So I went for it seeing that the rain was done and keeping in mind I could always turn back.

The first 3 miles were brutal; dry, hot and every thing looking the same. I could feel sunburn penetrating my skin knowing I was going to be sorry later.  Finally I started to see water in the river bed.  I had my GPS and topo map but some where I made a wrong turn and things were not looking right.  So I turned around and soon found a couple sloshing through the water back from the arch asking me where to go.  I found it more funny than being lost that I was trying to keep my feet dry when it was obvious there was no point and eventually I would be going knee deep in water or mud at some points.  After comparing notes we figured it all out.  They said there was a mild amount of flash flooding, they made it through so off I went.

After getting in another mile, a few too many times I stepped into very silty soil that appears solid but brought me thigh deep into muck: very frightening.  I learned quickly how to avoid this stuff. 

Seven miles later and near dusk I finally made it.  I passed by the one group of campers that were there, said hello and asked if they had found the natural springs the ranger had spoke off.  No luck.  Not too much later I realized I forgot to bring that extra bottle of water that was still in the car.  So I took my handy light zapper water purifier and proceeded to drink the silty water. Yuck.  Oh well, I set up camp ate cold can of soup, called Rolland on the sat phone to say I was alive and OK and hit the hay.  

I wasn't sure how long I would stay due to my water supply being so yucky.  So I got up early and headed on for a morning of hiking to the natural arch I wanted to see. Right around the corner from where I set up camp was the springs.  Yay!  Crystal clear and cold.  I drank til my belly said no more filled up my bottles and headed on with a lighter step.  

Natural Arch, in the Coyote Gulch, Glen Canyon Recreational Area.
Two more miles in I found Natural Arch.  (above)

Joshua Hamblin Arch 
Then checked out Joshua Hamblin Arch.

This picture above is a crazy site where the picture cannot even start to express the scale of this area.  After millions of years this river meanders resulting in a cave like area and a cool little beach across the way which makes for a nice camp site.

Any way, the rest of the day I hiked on out of there and headed for the car.  The water levels from the day before had receded making the hike a little easier.  Then once again I hit the desert- no shade stretch and nearly had heat stroke. I ran out of water with about 2 more miles to go, and my phobia of contracting some sort of contact dermatitis (poison ivy ect.) from the weeds near the river kicked in.  I turned into "got get out of here" mode and pushed on.  I finally made it to the car.  I took a "shower" from my shower bag in hopes to avoid the poison ivy if it was on me and proceeded to drive the 33 very uncomfortable miles back to the civilization.  

That night was a hotel night and laundry night!  

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