Blue Gate Pinnacle

Blue Gate PinnacleI took the family out for another outing yesterday after work, and it turned out being a fun little adventure. Last week when I was poring over satellite photos of the Kenilworth area I saw a long shadow stretching across the ground, presumably from a tall pillar of rock sticking up from the ground. It was in a short canyon situated directly between Kenilworth and Helper. Judging by the length of the shadow it had to be a fairly tall and thin feature, so I marked it in Google Earth to remind myself to check it out someday.
Someday came sooner than I expected, and we set out yesterday in the truck driving toward Kenilworth. I had originally planned on driving the car and parking at the nearest gas well to our destination, but after some more thought I decided to drive the truck, which would get us 0.8 miles closer. The road beyond the gas well was merely rocky for the first 0.4 miles, but for the remaining 0.4 miles it was rocky, steep, and washed out and required 4-low to get us to where I wanted to park.
Michael and Bradley climbing bouldersThe hike was only moderately difficult, following the bottom of a wash and gaining 240 feet of elevation over the course of a half-mile. There were a few spots where huge boulders clogged the bottom of the wash, some areas where we had to bushwhack, and closer to the rock pinnacle we had to scramble up some steep and loose hillsides. The terrain is so steep near the head of the canyon that the pinnacle wasn’t visible until we were within a couple hundred feet of it. The entire area looked to be untouched by humans, which is unusual for most canyons near Kenilworth and Helper. I hiked up to the base of the pinnacle while Traci and the kids stayed down low waiting for me. I took a few pictures up there, then hiked back down and placed a geocache in the hollow trunk of a dead junper tree.
The hike back to the truck was just as fun as the hike up the canyon, except a storm was rolling in and the wind was gusting pretty hard. After getting home we ate dinner pretty late (after 8:00 p.m.) and got to bed later than usual, but being a little tired today is worth the fun I had yesterday.

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