San Rafael Fall 2011

Camp at the WedgeI spent six days and five nights camped at the Wedge in the San Rafael Swell this past week. I had a really nice, laid back time, and the weather turned out to be perfect. Dave had a golf tournament in Moab the weekend before the San Rafael campout, so he pulled his camp trailer to Price on Thursday and parked it in my driveway while he spent two days in Moab. He returned Saturday and spent the night here, then on Sunday pulled his trailer down to the Wedge. The campsite we wanted was taken, so he set up in the next nearest spot. I had my trailer ready so that as soon as I got off work on Tuesday, I hopped in the truck and pulled it down to meet up with Dave. After setting up camp and fixing some dinner, it was dark and there wasn’t much to do, so I turned in early and read a book for a while before going to bed.
Lizard in Buckhorn WashOn Wednesday, Dave and I went for a 4-wheeler ride down Buckhorn Wash, then back out to the Green River Cutoff Road to check out a part of the abandoned railroad grade. We found a few geocaches along the way, but one of them along the railroad grade eluded us. Some friends from the Logan area showed up that afternoon, and they brought with them another couple who I hadn’t met before. That evening Dave and I rode up to the Wedge Overlook at sunset and took some photos, then stuck around until full dark so we could take some long-exposure shots.
Pool in Good Water CanyonTraci was planning on coming down with the kids on Thursday, but in the morning before they arrived I went for a hike in Good Water Canyon just below camp. I’d done this same hike before with Traci and the kids, and we ended up at a pool of water with a large dryfall below it. The pool was full of cattails back then, but now it had been scoured out by flash floods and most of the vegetation was gone. The hike took me less time than I expected, and I ended up back at camp before Traci got there. After she arrived, we didn’t do much for the rest of the day, which felt great.
Canyon at the west side of the WedgeAfter breakfast on Friday, Dave, Traci, and I, along with the kids, went for a ride on the west side of the Wedge. It had been about eight years since I’d been out that way, and this time we saw some new country as well. We stopped at a couple of nice overlooks of the Little Grand Canyon. While heading back toward camp Traci wasn’t feeling well, so Dave and I decided to explore a little more while Traci took the kids back to camp. We took some old mining roads that would sometimes disappear completely, though if we kept heading in the general direction the road had been going, we would eventually pick it up again.
Group shot at the night cacheAfter getting back to camp, a few more people showed up throughout the evening. Several of us went out and found a night geocache before returning to camp and hanging out around the camp fire. Chris surprised everybody by showing up. He originally had to work that weekend, but managed to work extra earlier in the week and made it to camp late Friday night. As usual it ended up being just Chris and me around the fire late at night, and we decided to ride my 4-wheeler over to the night cache so that Chris could find it. We followed the reflectors through the trees and stopped at the final location, and while Chris was signing the logbook, we heard what sounded like a coyote yipping just a couple hundred feet from us. Chris yelled something like, “Watch out coyote, we’ve got a gun,” and a voice answered back, “So do I.” WTF?! We were more than a little freaked out, so we just walked away quickly, got on the 4-wheeler, and hauled ass outta there. The next day we went back and looked at the area where the voice came from, and there were tire tracks from a full-sized vehicle off the road into the trees, and two sets of footprints. I’m still not sure what the hell was going on, but it was a bit freaky.
Chris on rappel in Buckhorn WashOn Saturday a group of us went up to Cedar Mountain and found all the geocaches along the way. There were a few ATVs, a UTV, and a Jeep. Most of the geocaches were drive-bys, and we did a couple of nice hikes as well. That evening back at camp we had a big potluck dinner and another nice evening around the fire. Everybody pulled out on Sunday, but before we left, Chris and I decided we needed to get some rappelling in. We hiked down Good Water Canyon looking for the perfect cliff, but didn’t find anything nice, so we drove down Buckhorn Wash. We were looking for a cliff with a ledge or hole halfway down where we could leave a geocache, and we found a nice spot, but I already had a geocache that I’d placed a while back that was too close. I decided to take that cache and leave it on the cliff. There were some bolts at the top of the cliff, but my rope wouldn’t reach the bottom from there. After some figuring, we found that we could anchor Chris’ rope on the bolts, then downclimb about 20 feet and connect our ropes with some carabiners. We rappelled down to a ledge where we hid the geocache, then had to do a swinging rappel off one side of the fin we were on ’cause that’s the only side where the rope reached the bottom. After getting back to camp, we headed home and ended a great week.

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