Monday, December 28, 2015

Hiking Spring Creek Canyon - December 2015

Spring Creek Canyon is just south of Kanarraville and just north of Kolob Canyon near I15 in Utah. It's a beautiful canyon in the spring with lots of flowers and a nice little stream, I hadn't been there in the winter before.

Quite a lot of snow at the entrance to the canyon but four or five people had hiked it so the path was easy to find, it did make for rather uneven footing though.

It's about 1.5 miles from the parking area to the start of the narrow section here.

I was surprised at how much water there was in the creek, the temperature was right around freezing, the sun was melting the snow off the walls I suppose.
There be gold in that creek!

The canyon splits and splits and splits into a maze of small canyons heading up into Zion's high country.
Biff has a favourite hole he likes to climb into.
The canyon is quite gloomy down in the bottom but the sun lights up the higher walls nicely. The narrowest section I went through is probably about 10 feet wide with 100 foot walls.
When there is a reflection between the walls the canyon really glows.
Biff explored everything - find the dog!
How did I get here?
Frikka was with us but she mostly kept to the trail, her legs were too short for the deeper snow and she got spooked a couple of times by ice falling from the walls.


Golden stream.
The western exit of the canyon, looking across I15 in the slot there somewhere.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Before The Storm, Velvet Ridge

Snow is forecast for tomorrow but today is a windless warm day, good day for a longer ride up on the Velvet Ridge above Torrey

Thousand Lake Mountain

We rode out to the edge of the Velvet Ridge for a look at the Henry Mountains
Henry Mountains over Torrey
I don't usually use the digital zoom but on the Samsung S6 it seems to do a pretty good job at low magnifications, this is the max 8x zoom, a bit fuzzy but not terrible.

I wonder what the scenery will be like tomorrow...



This ride brought up 200 miles on my Specialized mountain bike.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Little Wild Horse Canyon

I've been exploring the San Rafael Swell for about 20 years now and lived nearby for the last 11 yet somehow I hadn't previously been in the best known slot canyon. Actually I had attempted twice before but been rebuffed by potential weather problems, it's a high danger area for flash floods. Finally I set out with a brilliant blue sky and no forecast of change, though thin white clouds did appear.

Little Wild Horse is a very accessible slot canyon with a paved road leading right to the parking lot so in the spring and summer it is packed with people, it's hot in the summer but the high was only 40F today. As I arrived at the entrance to the canyon a sole hiker was emerging, he had done the complete Wild Horse/Bell Canyon loop and reported that there was no standing water which was great news. After that I had the whole place to myself.

The entrance to Little Wild Horse from Bell Canyon, the sign has gone and people miss the turn.
The dogs explored every ledge, hole and side canyon.
Wave patterns in the slot walls.
The dogs charged up and down the narrow sections, they had a great time.
Getting narrower!
Entrance to the very narrow section.
The Biffstacle.
This was as far as we got in Little Wild Horse, about one mile from the entrance. Biff couldn't figure out a way past here and got a bit upset. Frikka did actually manage to very awkwardly crawl through the narrow V at his nose but I had to lift her back down. I may have been able to lift Biff up on top but I climbed up there and it looked like there was a lot more like this. With two people it would have been much easier. Biff weighs 93lb and if he doesn't want to go somewhere it's hard to lift him up, at least without intimidating him which I didn't want to do.

Nice wavy patterns in Little Wild Horse.
The light was quite good but probably better to be there before or at noon for the best angle.
We backtracked down Little Wild Horse then headed up Bell Canyon

Frikka points the way up Bell Canyon.
We walked probably 3/4 of a mile up Bell Canyon before reaching a pile of rubble, Biff really tried to find a way but there wasn't one. It looks like you could go around left but it wasn't possible.

As far as we got in Bell Canyon.
View back over Bell Canyon from the Bell/LWH dividing ridge, La Sals with snow in the distance.

Little Wild Horse Canyon from above.

Poser!
Goblin Valley is a few miles east of Little Wild Horse.










Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sand Creek Frozen, Bicycle Ride

Another day, another Sand Creek ride with the dogs. Having been in Cedar for the last two weeks or so it was all new to the dogs again! It's been cold while we were gone.

Frikka wants to know where her drinking fountain has gone.
Upstream from the road crossing, the one I call Second Crossing. I have also named the light cliffs on the right of the creek "Owl Cliffs" because I saw some owls up on them once.
Henry Mountains over Capitol Reef.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Losee Canyon Bicycle Ride

Today was a travel day from Cedar City to Torrey so I wanted to find a ride in between the two, Losee Canyon is at the southwest end of highway 12 and leads into Red Canyon.


The canyon starts out fairly wide though there was enough snow in the wash bottom that I missed the trail exit from the wash and rode up it a ways to the next crossing.



Eventually the canyon became narrower and the trail followed the wash bottom, which was starting to present slippery obstacles. I had hoped to cover the 3 miles to the end but decided against it on this day, next spring!

The dogs loved running in and out of the snowy sections

Lots of red rocks and side canyons.






After the ride I continued along the dirt road to Casto Canyon which also leads into Red Canyon but is much longer, it's possible to make a loop but I think it's about 11 miles which was too far today.


The dirt road continued on and on eventually dumping me out into Panguitch right as the sun set.