February 1-3, 2019
On the first weekend in February, Chris and I did some exploring from the Henry Mountains to Poison Spring Canyon to the Cove. We started off on Friday evening looking for some pictographs at the base of the Henrys. I’d been there once before searching for this rock art without success, and this trip was also pretty much a bust. We hiked around a lot checking out boulders that I’d spotted in Google Earth without finding the specific pictographs I was hoping to find, though we did find some other pictos after sunset. It was too dark to take photographs so we decided to find a place to camp and return the next day.
We camped along Bull Creek in Dry Valley. Some nearby cottonwood trees provided good firewood that night. We watched a nice sunrise Saturday morning and then hit the road. First we stopped at Fallen Rock Alcove which, in addition to a lot of good rock art, held many grinding slicks and inscriptions.
Next we returned to the pictographs we’d found the previous night and took some photos. We also drove farther up the road and hiked around some more, sometimes postholing knee-deep in snow, but again failed to locate the pictographs we’d been hoping to find.
I drove back to Hanksville for fuel and then we headed south on UT-95 to Poison Spring Canyon. Shortly after leaving Hanksville we heard a thud on the roof of the Jeep, and I pulled over to see that a bolt had fallen out of the light bar. While I was zip-tying the light bar back onto the mounting bracket, Chris found the missing bolt still sitting on the roof. We continued on to Poison Spring. I’d never driven down the canyon and wasn’t sure what to expect, and we found a lot of rock art in the canyon. There were also a lot of inscriptions, mostly dating to about the first quarter of the 1900s. Two inscriptions were by Mont Caldwell, whose name I’ve seen written on sandstone in many widely-scattered locations across Utah, always in nice cursive writing and with no date. Ford Weber also carved his name in the canyon walls two times 17 years apart.
There’s a purported Butch Cassidy inscription somewhere in the canyon, and I thought I knew where it was but didn’t find it there. We reached the Dirty Devil River crossing and found a geocache nearby, then reversed course and drove back out of Poison Spring Canyon.
We drove in the dark toward the Cove and found a place to camp near a corral, and stayed up late around a camp fire. It was a little breezy and cold, and when it began raining we called it a night and slept in the Jeep–no cots this night! On Sunday morning we drove farther up Cove Canyon and found some rock art and old cowboy relics.
As Chris and I headed toward home, we stopped at a spot that a friend had told me about with many circular stone rings that were likely storage cists. That friend had been looking for some rock art I’d told him about when he found the stone circles, and it turns out I’d been within a couple hundred yards of that spot on an earlier trip. They were in an unusual spot, not sheltered by an overhang or alcove like most storage cists that I’ve seen. We found a broken metate, mano, and potsherd nearby, indicating that this was indeed a grain storage and processing site used by Native Americans.
We made a couple more stops in North Wash while driving home, both at the Hite Overlook (with no sign of Lake Powell in sight) and a couple of petroglyph sites along the highway. Although we failed at my main goal of finding the pictographs near the Henry Mountains, it had still been a very productive trip! I took way too many photos to include here, so check out the photo gallery link below for more.
Photo Gallery: Henrys, Poison Spring, and the Cove