Valentine’s Day in the Northern Swell

A month ago, an old friend who nobody thought would ever get married did just that. And so it came to be that a bunch of high school friends who are in their late-30s all met up for the first time in a very long time. While at Jorge and Alyssa’s wedding reception, Traci and I talked a lot with Mike and Allie and we made plans to hang out in and around Price during the Valentine’s Day weekend. We live two hours apart, but more than a decade ago we used to take turns spending weekends at each other’s homes. When we all had kids that slowed down and eventually stopped. In a strange turn of events Mike’s aunt died and her funeral was in Helper on Saturday, just a few minutes away from Price. Mike and his family arrived on Friday afternoon and we ate dinner and caught up that evening. The kids got along well and the adults prepared for the following day’s trip. On Saturday morning Mike and Allie went to his aunt’s funeral, then we drove into the northern San Rafael Swell for an afternoon/evening of fun. We entered the Swell via Cleveland and made our first stop in a small drainage coming off the northwest side of Cedar Mountain. There we checked out a fossilized dinosaur skeleton and some very cool and small pictographs.

Michael and Bradley hiking up a canyon
Michael and Bradley hiking up a canyon

The rest of the gang following on the canyon rim
The rest of the gang following on the canyon rim

Fossilized dinosaur
Fossilized dinosaur

Fossilized dinosaur bone
Fossilized dinosaur bone

Small pictographs near the dinosaur fossil
Small pictographs near the dinosaur fossil

Pictographs
Pictographs

Pictographs
Pictographs

Pictographs
Pictographs

4Runner and Grand Cherokee off-road
4Runner and Grand Cherokee off-road

The next planned stop was at Hamburger Rocks, but during the drive I was surprised by how much water there was in Buckhorn Reservoir so we stopped to skip rocks.

Skipping rocks at Buckhorn Reservoir
Skipping rocks at Buckhorn Reservoir

Small island in Buckhorn Reservoir with the Wasatch Plateau in the background
Skipping rocks at Buckhorn Reservoir

Buckhorn Reservoir
Skipping rocks at Buckhorn Reservoir

At Hamburger Rocks I wasn’t surprised at all to find some people already there. The weather felt more like April than February and we’d already seen a lot of people camping and enjoying the warm weather. The people we ran into were nice enough to share some Valentine’s treats with our kids, but unkind enough to leave a fire burning when they left. I doused their coals with water and put the dogs back into the Jeep to keep them away from the food and litter they left behind.

Jeep parked at Hamburger Rocks
Jeep parked at Hamburger Rocks

Bradley and Michael at Hamburger Rocks
Bradley and Michael at Hamburger Rocks

Boulder and Torrey hanging out in the back of the Jeep
Boulder and Torrey hanging out in the back of the Jeep

We stopped at Buckhorn Flat for a bathroom break on the way to the Wedge Overlook. None of Mike’s family had been to the Wedge. We only stayed for a short while–long enough for me to take a single photo.

Metal silhouettes on Buckhorn Flat, representing travelers on the Old Spanish Trail
Metal silhouettes on Buckhorn Flat, representing travelers on the Old Spanish Trail

Indian slave
Indian slave

Ze Vedge
Ze Vedge

The sun was on its way down so we headed north and then made our way southeast up Cedar Mountain to the picnic area. There, we had a camp fire and cooked a dinner of bratwurst and hot dogs while the sun went down. At about 7,600′ elevation I was surprised to see some snow still on the ground, but that made it easier to smother the fire before we left. ;)

Distant Henry Mountains and Window Blind Peak
Distant Henry Mountains and Window Blind Peak

Fire for cooking a dinner of bratwurst and hot dogs
Fire for cooking a dinner of bratwurst and hot dogs

Sunset from Cedar Mountain picnic area
Sunset from Cedar Mountain picnic area

Roasting marshmallows over coals
Roasting marshmallows over coals


Photo Gallery: Valentine’s Day in the Northern Swell
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