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.










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