Jack’s Knob is a lone spire of Entrada Sandstone along Sweetwater Reef in the San Rafael Desert, and it has been on my to-do list to visit the formation for many years. I started planning a trip in December but ended up waiting until January when Alan and Wade could also make the hike with me. It may be possible to drive almost all the way to Jack’s Knob from the north. However, we took what appeared to be a better road from the southwest along Sweetwater Reef, then hiked roughly two miles down the Reef. The descent was about 500′ and required a little routefinding over some small ledges. The small amount of snow on the ground didn’t hamper our efforts too much. On the way to Jack’s Knob I found mining claim papers that had been rolled up and stuffed into an aluminum can, and also saw some rockfall in a wash that exposed a huge root system for what appeared to be relatively short bushes.
Arriving at Jack’s Knob, we began circumnavigating the huge spire. I expected to find some inscriptions and that we did! The oldest was a “C.W. 1893” inscription. Others of interest were “M.B.” from Price, Utah, and “Warren Beebe, May 19, 1912.” I found a few Indian artifacts on the south side of the monolith. Besides the many flint chippings, there was a broken grinding stone and a nice, round scraper.
The group headed straight south from Jack’s Knob toward some smaller but still prominent outcroppings of stone. We followed a two-track road that didn’t look as though it sees much traffic. Along the way I made a search for a “well” listed on the USGS topo map. What I found was an uncapped drill pipe protruding about 12 inches above the ground surface. The urge to drop a rock down the hole was too great to resist–it took eight seconds to reach the bottom. We reached the other sandstone spires after walking about a mile and found nothing interesting on or around them.
After a brief lunch break we moved along to the west toward a canyon that drains out of Sweetwater Reef. At the canyon rim the group split up: Wade and his son followed the canyon rim south while Alan and I dropped into the canyon and explored it a short distance before climbing out and following our original route back toward the truck. We all joined back up at the truck without having seen anything else of interest. My GPS registered 7.2 miles and my legs protested that it surely must have been much farther.
On the way out of the area we stopped at Rattlesnake Butte. I’d found an inscription there several years earlier and wanted to show it to Alan and Wade. Lawrence Christensen of Ferron, Utah, had been there 108 years before us and left mark, though he misspelled his first name. The drive into the area in the morning had been pleasant, with the tires quietly crushing fresh snow. The sun had been out most of the afternoon and so the drive out was a muddy mess!