By autumn 2021 I still wasn’t ready to host my usual public geocaching event, but I invited a few close friends to join my wife and me at our usual camp spot for the weekend. Only four others were able to make it, so we had six people and five dogs. Traci and I arrived on Tuesday and for the first couple of days our only outings were to walk the dogs around the area, and visiting the metate I’d found many years ago to make sure it was still there.
On Thursday I left Traci at camp with the dogs and set out to finish something I’d started three years earlier. In 2018 I hiked from the north to Little Gilson Butte and a small sandstone spire between there and Gilson Butte, but at nearly eight miles round trip through deep sand that was enough for one day. This time I parked on the Molly’s Castle road and hiked north to complete the circumnavigation of Gilson Butte. On that earlier hike I’d seen dozens of inscriptions, many potsherds, lithic flakes, and broken metates, so I expected Gilson Butte to have more of the same. I actually found nothing there. Not a single writing, nothing on the ground (except one mylar balloon). Zip. I couldn’t believe it but I still had a good six mile hike with great scenery.
There was a gorgeous sunset that evening. Ken and Jan showed up while I was out hiking, and Chris and Dollie arrived the next day.
I had a hike planned for Saturday that was a little too strenuous for Ken and Jan so only Chris and Dollie joined me. We drove a short distance from camp to cut a couple miles off the round trip, then hiked to Cow Tanks. It was an easy walk to that point, but I wanted to get to the top of the San Rafael Reef and peer down into Wild Horse Creek. First we went up a short, narrow canyon, and then left the canyon bottom and scrambled up a zig-zaggy route to the top. It was cold and windy there so I snapped a quick photo looking into Wild Horse Creek and then we descended back to the truck and then to camp, having hiked about 4.5 miles total.
The rest of the weekend we spent relaxing at camp. It was a nice change of pace, having only a few friends there and only doing a couple of easier hikes.
Photo Gallery: Gilson Butte and Cow Tanks