Last weekend was my semi-annual San Rafael Swell camping trip, which is usually a big geocaching event open to anyone, but since COVID hit I’ve kept it to a small number of invited guests. This time there were only 12 people in attendance, and bad weather kept me from getting out to hike as much as I’d wanted to. Traci and I drove to the Wedge on Tuesday after work. It was really windy during the drive down but luckily the sway control on the trailer did its job. We arrived at our camp spot and didn’t want to set up in the wind so we just hunkered down in the trailer for the evening, playing games and tidying up the inside of the trailer after coming out of winter storage. We both had a miserable night with all the dust and pollen in the air due to the wind, and didn’t sleep well due to sinus and nasal congestion. We didn’t have the right kinds of allergy medicine for our symptoms, so on Wednesday we drove back to Price to get some, not wanting to count on finding any in Castle Dale. That took enough of a chunk out of the middle of the day that I didn’t get to hike where I wanted, but we did take the dogs for several walks on the Good Water Rim trail.
On Thursday I hiked to a nice petroglyph panel. It wasn’t very far from a road, but I wanted to do a longer hike so I stopped well short of the usual access to the panel and hiked up the canyon to it. It hadn’t rained very recently but there were still several pools of water in the canyon. I checked out a few overhangs along the way but didn’t find anything in any of them. I got to where I thought the panel was, expecting it to be closer to the canyon bottom. I got directly below the panel before I spotted it high up, just below the canyon rim. I scrambled to the top and found a crack leading down to it. It’s really a great little panel with a lot of interesting figures–I’m surprised I hadn’t heard about it until recently. I moseyed back to the truck and drove to camp, where our friends arrived through the afternoon.
It rained that evening and most of Friday, so we didn’t get to have a campfire. We all piled into my trailer and played games and chatted while waiting out the rain, and it finally let up late Friday afternoon. I took the dogs for a longer walk on the Rim trail, and we had a pleasant time around the campfire that evening.
On Saturday my bro-in-law Mark and I hiked to see some pictographs. They all appeared to be Fremont and most, especially those with white pigment, were very faded. Or maybe they weren’t all that vibrant to begin with, but I’d love to have seen the pictographs when they were fresh. It wasn’t a very long hike but it was a bit of a drive to get out there, and we returned to camp mid-afternoon. It was windy again in the evening so we moved our potluck dinner inside the camp trailer. We had 12 people and three dogs inside so it was a bit crowded. That night instead of a campfire, we once again piled everyone into the camp trailer and played games until quite late.
Everyone went home fairly early on Sunday, but I stayed a bit later for one last nearby hike to what appeared to be a dam in the satellite imagery. The straight edge viewed from above led me to believe it was made of concrete, but I arrived and saw that the top layer was comprised of long rectangular stones. Most of the stones were dry-laid but some had a little bit of cement holding them together. Judging by how silted-in the pond is the dam must be fairly old, maybe a Civilian Conservation Corps project. On the walk back to the truck I found a mylar balloon which I packed out. I got back to camp and Traci and I ate lunch, then finished packing up and headed home. The weather had put a damper on my adventures, but being able to spend more time with friends made up for it.
Photo Gallery: A Swell Spring 2022