Buckhorn the Second

Traci went to Orem on Friday and spent all day and night there scrapbooking with some of her family members, so I decided to head out after work with Michael and Bradley to do some camping in Buckhorn Wash. The drive only took an hour, so by 5:00 p.m. we had already arrived and started setting up camp. We stayed right across from the mouth of Little Holes Canyon. It was a decent place to camp, but the ground was hard packed and rocky and not nearly as nice as the soft sand at the place farther down-canyon where I’d camped two weeks ago. One very interesting similarity to my last outing is that we had a visit from a desert bighorn sheep, again peeking out from the top of the cliffs above camp to check us out. There must be a lot of bighorn up on the flats on either side of Buckhorn Wash, and apparently they’re curious animals.
I had let the kids help prepare meals and wrap them in foil at home, and at camp we threw them on the fire to cook. We hiked around for a short while as our food cooked, then sat down to a good dinner when we got back from the hike. After dinner I made s’mores for the boys and a drink (rum and cola) for myself, and we spent the rest of the evening around the campfire. We turned in at around 11:00 p.m., which is earlier than we normally would have gone to bed at home, and slept fitfully throughout the night. It was pretty cramped in the tent with me, two kids, and the dog. It didn’t help that it was warm and relatively humid.
At 6:30 a.m. I was wide awake and decided to stop trying to sleep. I let the dog out of the tent and started getting things ready for breakfast while the kids continued sleeping. We had bagels and orange juice, and I also had a cup of coffee. After breakfast I broke down camp and loaded everything up into the car, then we set out on a hike into the cliffs surrounding camp. Two weeks ago I saw a cave that was high up in those cliffs, but it didn’t quite look accessible from the bottom of the cliffs. We set out to determine whether we could get there from the bottom, and after scrambling around for about an hour, we decided it couldn’t be done. Through binoculars I could see some initials carved in the rock next to the cave, so I know it’s accessible somehow, but I think the nearest access from the top would require at least a one mile hike. It will be worth trying to hike to this fall or winter because it’s deeper than any other natural cave I’ve seen in the Navajo Sandstone in this area.
After finishing our hike and getting back to the car, we took the Green River Cutoff Road east with the intention of finding the Stone Saloon geocache out that way. I’d done absolutely no advance scouting of the area in Google Earth, which is very unusual for me, so I was relying solely on the compass arrow on my GPS to get us to the cache. I drove seven miles north on the road to Humbug Flats in my Taurus, which in itself is quite a feat, but I wasn’t able to find the correct road leading east to the cache. The closest to the geocache that I could get on the main road was within 1.5 miles, and that was too far for the kids to hike in that heat. We turned around and drove seven rough miles back to the Green River Cutoff Road, then continued east to US-6 and on to home.
Tent camping with the kids is considerably more work than going alone, but I think they had a better time than if we’d stayed home. Our next camping trip will be in the camp trailer at Potter’s Ponds in a few weeks. I’ve got that Friday and Monday off work, and I’m looking forward to taking it easy that weekend.

2 thoughts on “Buckhorn the Second

  1. You are a brave man going out to the swell during the hot summer months. I am counting the days until it cools down and we can make a few more trips down south before the end of the year. I have a swell to do list .. The SR Knob, Devils Canyon, Obscure Arch, Chimney Canyon, Cottonwood Wash, and of course the kids want to go down to Goblin.
    So much to do and the price of gas is still high.

  2. I spent the hottest parts of the day driving inside an air-conditioned car, so I’m not that brave. 😀 It’s nice just to be able to get out, ’cause the desert is all we’ve got going in this area. The mountains around here don’t really excite me, especially since they’re relatively low in elevation and it still gets hot up there.
    That’s a great to-do list. All I’ve done of those is the Knob and Goblin Valley. I would like to get back to Goblin Valley–the last time I was there was three years ago in June, and it was really hot. My youngest was only two years old at the time, and it was pretty difficult for us to keep a handle on both kids. Now we’ve got a lot more experience outdoors, and it would be a much easier time for my wife and me, and the kids would have a lot more fun too.

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