This was disappointingly my first hike of 2024. Not unlike a big chunk of last year, I was sick and haven’t been outdoors hiking or camping much the last couple of months. My wife and I had pneumonia for a couple of weeks in January, and then for a couple more weeks after that I simply felt tired and out of breath whenever I exerted myself. Finally last weekend I just had to get outside, even if only for a short hike. My son Bradley joined me and we took our dogs, Boulder and Delta, along. I had two ulterior motives: to check on Torrey’s grave, and to see if the Bureau of Land Management had yet turned all of the free Wedge camp spots into paid spots. Everything was well at Torrey’s resting spot–it was the first time visiting in the last two years that I didn’t tear up–and the Wedge is still open and free, for now. I did see signs of heavy equipment activity, moving rocks to delineate some of the spots, so presumably the “improvements” and extremely high fees are coming. The BLM hasn’t
Well, sorry for the long tangent. Bradley and I arrived at the end of the Lower Wedge Road, leashed the dogs up, and began hiking. There were a few steep drainages between us and the rim of Buckhorn Wash, which was my planned destination. Instead of descending and ascending each of those, we stayed at about the same elevation and hiked around the heads of the drainages.
After only a little over half a mile of hiking, Bradley said he didn’t think he could complete the entire hike. He suggested waiting there for me, but I just handed him the keys to the truck and told him to hike back with Boulder. I continued on with Delta and we hiked as far toward the rim of Buckhorn Wash as we could get. It was pretty sketchy getting there, having to traverse a couple of steep slickrock slopes. And I found out that Delta was afraid of heights and I had to really coax her into following me.
Eventually I got as far as I could. There was a small cliff that wasn’t very noticeable in the satellite imagery that I couldn’t get past without lowering Delta down and then lifting her back up. So I called it quits there, but I placed a geocache for any adventurous souls who wanted to hike out that far. At least from there I had a nice view down toward the Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel. After placing the geocache we headed back to the truck, traversing the steep slopes again. Delta really balked on the way back when we got close to the top of a very tall cliff, and I had to lose significant elevation on one side of a land bridge in order for her to feel comfortable taking the route back. Once I could see the truck I looked through my binoculars to verify Bradley had made it back. It was slow-going for me and Delta to get back because I decided to bomb straight down and up the drainages along the way, but at least we didn’t get tired with all the elevation loss/gain.
Unfortunately after we got home, we noticed that Boulder’s back feet were bleeding. That poor puppy has never been very hardy, and she couldn’t even handle a hike just over one mile long. The route that Delta and I hiked was only 2.3 miles–we were both unaffected by that short distance but both Bradley and Boulder were wiped out.
Photo Gallery: Wedge to Buckhorn Rim