My wife and I went back to southwestern Utah a second time this year and stayed with our friends in Washington. I went for a few short, casual outings while we were there. First Paul and I took his WJ onto Sand Mountain for some off-roading and found a few geocaches along the way. One geocache required a steep scramble to reach, and I was only the sixth person to find it in almost ten years. We stopped at a spot where my kids and I had camped in 2013 and found a lot of broken pottery, and there was still a bunch there this time.
The next day we went to Canaan Gap to see some rock art. We hiked through a bit of windswept snow to get there. The petroglyphs were great, and some had weathered in a very interesting way. The sandstone is much softer than the patina on the surface, so petroglyphs that were initially shallowly pecked are now deeply eroded while the general outline remains the same. We tried getting to some more rock art south of the Gap that Paul had been to before. It required a steep, rocky climb up a hill in the snow, then a shimmy across a ledge. The ledge was way too sketchy with snow on it so we didn’t get a close look at the rock art, but I got a photo from below of some pictographs.
Chris showed up on Friday, so on Saturday three of us hiked up Padre Canyon north of Ivins. The hike and scenery were really nothing special, but it was a beautiful and warm sunny day for a hike. T-shirt weather in December! We parked at Tuacahn and hiked up to the saddle of the canyon where we could see down into Snow Canyon. It was only about 2.5 miles round trip with 600′ elevation difference–a decent workout but not too strenuous.
Photo Gallery: Sand Mountain, Canaan Gap, and Padre Canyon