This was the first event I listed publicly on geocaching.com after COVID hit in 2020. There wasn’t a huge turnout but it was nice to see many of our old friends show up. I drove down after work on Monday, October 3rd, with Boulder and Loa. On Tuesday I took the dogs for a walk on my lunch break to a place where I always visit when I’m in the area. This time I saw what might have been dinosaur footprints in the wash, exposed by recent floods. I almost always find at least one arrowhead in this wash, and I got excited when I thought I spotted one half buried in the sand. It turned out to be just a chert flake that hadn’t been worked, but later I did find a small broken point.
On Wednesday’s dog walk I visited a metate that I found many years ago and buried under a tree. It had become exposed after all the recent rains so I reburied it. Nearby I found a broken point made from obsidian, which is the only one made from that material I’ve ever seen in the Swell. Traci joined me at camp that evening and stayed through Sunday.
I took Thursday and Friday off work since that’s when most of our friends were arriving, but before anybody got there on Thursday I went for a hike. I had spotted in satellite imagery what looked like a natural bridge in the San Rafael Reef and wanted to check it out in person. Just as I turned off Highway 24 onto the dirt road I ran into Jamal! He was there to finish his Zion to Green River hike that he began in May but didn’t finish. You can watch Jammer’s video from that day here (my truck is featured at 1:41). We chatted for a bit and then I drove to the trailhead to start my hike. The first part of my route followed the approach to the Zero G slot canyon.
After dropping into the canyon I headed north through a fairly easy canyon/fault in the Reef. Then I turned west into a small side canyon that had an impassable pool. I had to climb to the top of a steep and loose talus slope in order to progress farther up the canyon. I got to the natural bridge and it was pretty cool, but difficult to photograph well from above. I tried to find a way below it but failed, although clearly somebody else had been there because I saw a cairn down there.
I descended back down the canyon and the rough talus slope and from there it was easy going back to the truck. When I crossed Zero G again I spotted an arrowhead that I’d stepped right over that morning. I returned to the truck and my total hiking distance was 5.5 miles in 4.5 hours.
On Friday morning I hiked with my brother-in-law Mark to Crack Canyon. It seems odd that I’ve never been there before so on this camping trip I made it a priority. We hiked as far down the canyon as we could until encountering a dryfall with a pool of water below it. We might have been able to climb back up the dryfall with dry shoes, but with the muddy pool below it we decided to not continue farther down the canyon.
The whole group was there by Saturday and we went for a hike in the north fork of Iron Wash. We all hiked about a mile as far as a big pool and dryfall, but then some of the older folks returned to the vehicles while a few of us climbed out of the wash below the dryfall and continued up the canyon. We went more than a mile farther, just to where the canyon exits the San Rafael Reef, then stopped to rest and have a snack before heading back.
Everyone went home the following day, except me. I stayed for another week, working during the week and going for short hikes near camp with the dogs the following weekend. Traci came back on Thursday and our friend Terry joined us with his son for two nights. Traci left again on Sunday and I was planning on moving to the Floy Canyon area, but before I even got to Green River I decided I’d had enough camping the past two weeks and just headed home instead. It had been a fun couple of weeks but I was ready to be home for a while!
Photo Gallery: A Swell Fall 2022