Category Archives: Trip Reports

Prickly Pear Flat(s)

During my last outing of 2018, on New Year’s Eve, I experienced a lot of flats. Chris, his fiancee, Dollie, and I hiked to Prickly Pear Flat to visit the rock art there. I also got two flat tires on my Jeep. This was my third trip to the rock art and I didn’t bother to take my regular point-and-shoot camera–all the photos here were taken with my phone. Chris had never been to Prickly Pear Flat, and it was an easy hike close to home before we began our New Year’s festivities later in the evening. While driving to the wilderness study area boundary I stopped above a spot in the road with several snow-covered ledges. I was worried about having difficulty driving back up the ledges so we decided to park there, but then I noticed the left-rear tire on the Jeep was flat. We had stopped half a mile earlier and the tire was fine then, so apparently it was punctured very shortly before we parked. I thoroughly inspected the tire from the outside and couldn’t find the puncture, let alone any foreign objects. I quickly swapped that tire out with the spare and then we began to hike.

First flat tire of the day
First flat tire of the day

We walked down the road a distance before reaching a barricade that hadn’t been there the last two times I was in the area. In 2016 the BLM partnered up with the Wasatch Mountain Club to move the barricade from the WSA boundary farther back, which I’m not sure was even legal since the travel plan hasn’t been updated since 2008. The barricade has since been broken by some Emery County good ol’ boys and obviously people had been driving through it.

Footprints in the snow across Prickly Pear Flat
Footprints in the snow across Prickly Pear Flat

Gaiting in my gaiters
Gaiting in my gaiters

Broken (but probably illegal) barricade
Broken (but probably illegal) barricade

After dropping down through a cliff band it was a flat walk to the rock art. We saw a single bighorn sheep in the area but, not having my real camera on me, I didn’t get a decent photo of it. The rock art is amazing despite having been weathered so badly. Each time I come here I notice new details, such as the tiny bird figure next to the snake holder person.

Dropping down through a layer of cliffs
Dropping down through a layer of cliffs

Hoodoo
Hoodoo

Chris above a small cliff
Chris above a small cliff

Walking toward the rock art
Walking toward the rock art

Badly weathered pictographs
Badly weathered pictographs

My favorite panel
My favorite panel

Closeup of snake holder and flute player
Closeup of snake holder and flute player

Tiny bird figure near the snake holder
Tiny bird figure near the snake holder

Flying turtles
Flying turtles

Dog or bear?
Dog or bear?

Dog or bear? (DStretch version)
Dog or bear? (DStretch version)

Birds and land animals
Birds and land animals

Chris climbing the ledges for a closer look
Chris climbing the ledges for a closer look

Horned figure
Horned figure

Bird and other figures
Bird and other figures

Sharpening grooves
Sharpening grooves

Moccasin/sandal/foot prints
Moccasin/sandal/foot prints

It began snowing as we left the rock art behind and took a different route back to the Jeep, one which I’d taken once before. This time I realized the route through the cliffs appeared to be a stock trail, possibly with some construction, but it was difficult to tell with it being covered in snow. We hiked down a wash and saw some presumably fake petroglyphs that I’d seen on my first trip there. I’d seen a photo online of other fakes in the area but was unable to locate them. We followed the wash back to the road and then it was a short walk to the Jeep.

Climbing a trail through the ledges
Climbing a trail through the ledges

Descending into the head of a wash
Descending into the head of a wash

Modern petroglyphs
Modern petroglyphs

Hiking down a wash in the snow
Hiking down a wash in the snow

When we were almost back to Cleveland during the drive home, the Jeep started to handle strangely and I pulled over to check the tires. Once again, the left-rear was almost flat! It gave me a chance to use a tire plug for the first time–it was tough! With the tire mostly flat it was difficult to insert the needle and plug because the tire kept flexing inward toward the rim. After repositioning my body so I could push forward with my feet I managed to get a plug in the tire. The compressor inflated the tire to 25 PSI before it blew a fuse in the Jeep. I didn’t have any spare mini-blade fuses (I’d never blown a fuse in almost seven years of owning a Grand Cherokee) and didn’t want to borrow one from another circuit, so we just drove home like that and everything was fine. The tire held air for a couple of days before I could get them both repaired professionally. I never did find whatever punctured the spare tire either, so I’ll never know what caused two flats in the same day.

Me plugging the second flat tire of the day (photo by Chris)
Me plugging the second flat tire of the day (photo by Chris)

Plug in the spare tire
Plug in the spare tire

Inflating the spare tire
Inflating the spare tire


Photo Gallery: Prickly Pear Flat(s)