Mussentuchit – Last Chance Loop

Getting ready to rideTwo days before Christmas, I went for a 4-wheeler ride with Cortney, Chris, and Cody. It had been rainy in Price for nearly the entire week preceding the ride, but it cleared up Thursday and we had a sunny day and relatively warm temperatures. Cort had wanted to see the Butch Cassidy inscription near Willow Springs Wash, and he invited me to come along on the ride. We met at the junction of UT-10 and I-70, then drove a couple of miles east and unloaded the ATVs.
Butch Casady inscriptionWe stopped at Willow Springs to check out a stone building near an old coal mine, then kept riding until we got to the Butch Cassidy inscription. Before seeing the inscription in person, I thought it might be dubious. The inscription was actually spelled “Butch Casady,” though I’m not sure why. The Butch Cassidy Wikipedia entry lists that spelling as an alias, but the reference link to a BLM website doesn’t mention that spelling. I’ve been unable to find any other explanation for it, but the writing certainly does seem to be very old, and so I suspect that it’s authentic.
Mussentuchit WashAfter spending some time at the inscription, we cruised south and checked out the Sand Cove and Mussentuchit Wash areas. We found three geocaches in that area, two of which were in Mussentuchit Wash near some very interesting sites. The first was near some amazing petroglyphs. There were a few solo glyphs, then a huge busy panel with a lot of very old (re-patinaed) and some relatively newer rock art. There were at least a couple of Kokopelli figures, numerous alien-like figures, some snakes, and one figure that fascinated me–it had a head, arms, and legs, but no body attaching them all. The second site was farther up the wash where there were some pioneer names painted onto a cliff face. Just below them was a huge pool that would have been fun to swim in if the weather was warmer.
Entrada Sandstone spire near Last Chance WashWe looked at Sand Cove Spring and checked out a spire of Entrada Sandstone that Chris wanted to climb and place a geocache on (unfortunately it wasn’t easy to climb), then headed south toward Mussentuchit Flat. We stopped to ride around on the sand dunes for a bit, then headed farther south where we intended to loop around to the Last Chance Desert area and then back north toward the trucks. We didn’t have any plans to stop on the southeastern part of the loop, so it went by quickly. I’d shed my heavy coat and snow pants while we were hiking around earlier, but I had to stop and put my coat back on during this part of the ride. We crossed Last Chance Creek, which was flowing a light milky brown color. We took the turnoff to Last Chance Ranch but found it gated about half a mile down the road, so we returned to the main road and cruised back to our starting point. I found it very interesting where the road climbs out of the Last Chance Desert through some uplifted and tilted layers of sandstone. There’s some great looking Curtis Formation rocks visible from the road, and I want to go back to explore them on foot when the days are longer. Our ride lasted about five and a half hours and was about 50 miles long, and it felt pretty damn good for December.

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GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Earth .KMZ Format)

GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Maps)

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