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Full Version: Charlie Horse's 2018 Picture Thread
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Oh boy, her chasing antelope is something. Glad you got her back. Your pictures are fabulous.
I love the "escape from the castle"! Very cool photos.

Point of interest-- Remember those arching bridges from my Eagle Canyon hike? How I mentioned that those bridges seem smaller because at 80mph, you're over them in 2 seconds? Some guy driving a semi drove off the edge and landed smack dab in the bottom last night! I have no idea how they'll clean this up. I mentioned that they've neglected maintaining the roads down there... To think I had thought about doing that hike again yesterday but it seemed a better hike for cooler weather. I bet I took some goat pictures right where that truck landed.
Lone Tree/Whiskey Wash area north of I-70 on 22 Sept 2018

I've been planning an overnight hike in  this area for a while, though at first I intended to follow the wash all the way up to the Morrison Formation to the west.  I changed my mind and decided that I'd have plenty to do just exploring a certain area only a couple miles from the highway, which looked interesting from google.  However, as I studied the photo-map I could see that there was a  sandstone layer about 12-15 feet thick that isolated an entire area above the river and there may not be a way up.  I did see a good chance that if one followed the layer until it dove underground, and one followed some goblin rock ledges there was probably a way up.  I also circled a spot on my hand drawn map that said "cool".  We shall see....

Woodstock and Shelby have never carried such a heavy load, at 40lbs each and about the max of what I really think they should be carrying.  I also brought a backpack.  The reason for the weight is water.  I have to plan for zero water to be found when exploring a new area and since its a drought year.

We started at about 2:00 and crossed under the interstate, following the river bed.  It was hot and packs were heavy.
Once again Luna startled some antelope, but this time she obeyed me and did not chase them.  The female seems to have an 80s hair style.

After a couple miles one is rewarded by some amazing cliff scenes and goblin formations.  Other than a small trail there is no sign that humans ever visit this area, and in fact its not mentioned in my books on the Swell.  Cattle do run here and I even found a sad cow mummy under a tree.  Unfortunately its not far enough from the interstate that you escape the distant sound of semi trucks and their jake-brakes, and loudest of all, a Harley now and then.

Well the area that I circled as 'cool' turned out to be very cool indeed.  Some very tall hoodoos!  The problem is they sit on top of that indestructible sandstone slab right at the place it hits ground level, and by the time the monument stops, the slab is too high to climb. 

The solution is to follow a side canyon to where the hoodoo monument's own formation goes underground.  You can then follow that ledge over to the monuments and I was hoping find an easy path down to the secret isolated plateau.  The problem is that there wasn't a great, easy way down!  As I studied the rocks, the goats got to liking the shade and were refusing to follow me very close.  Then it hit me... why not camp here?  There were amazing views in all directions and a flat spot perfect for camping.  A full moon would prevent anyone from falling off the sides, so I unloaded the goats and set up camp.

So here's the camp site looking south at the hoodoo monument.  You can see what a nice little area I have.  Sand has filled a hollow where I put my sleeping bag.  The goats found other sand pits or slept next to me.  The problem was they'd dig before settling and sometime flick sand on my area.  No need for ropes here... In fact I think they could be dangerous in this situation.

Camp site looking north, back at the goblin formation we followed to get here.  This picture was taken higher up on the hoodoos.

The view from camp looking west.  This is Whiskey Wash going up to the Morrison Formation.  You can see the purple-white banded paleosoils from here.  I'm going to make it up that far someday, but it may be a two night trip.

Here's a view from camp to the south-east.  You can see the smooth plateau floor made of that indestructible layer.  You can see it in the distance-- Those low cliffs.  Thats the edge and there's no way up.  No scree slopes or weaknesses in the sheer edge.  Further south is I-70.

I brought a good book and a head-band flashlight.  The moon rose and the night was warm.  I'd overprepared for chill that never came.  In fact, it was t-shirt weather the entire night.  My sweat pants were too much, and its nearly October!  But what a wonderful night... No mosquitos.  I brought a little mp3 player and speaker and kept some chill music going all night to cover the sound of distant traffic and the goats fidgeting. 

End of day 1
I'm loving all your explorations this year! Amazing scenery every which way!
Day 2

Next morning after a quick breakfast of crackers and cheese I packed up camp and left the packs for later pickup.  Today was the day to explore the inaccessible plateau.  Luna found the secret way down the goblin cliff on her own.  Without the packs the goats easily made it down, and we found ourselves on the giant indestructible sandstone slab.  Now I have to mention that even up higher on the hoodoos there were completely out of place glassy agates and other strange minerals.  They must have been there for ages, resisting the wind while the sandstone around them dissolved over time.  Here on the stone slab, any rocks you find tend to be either black shiny oblong things, or chunks of agate.   Here I grouped some shards I'd found within a just a few feet of me.  One even looks like it may have been worked by an Indian at some point in history judging by the scalloping.  This was a fun area to rock hound for sure, but I left these for some future hiker to see.

Here you see the hard floor covered with interesting stones.  The tree sits in one of the few places that water had washed a shallow into the hard sandstone.  In the back you see how the goblins just sit on the stone without a lot of rubble messing it up.  Very tidy.

Was it a plateau?  Was it a valley?  Its both.  We followed the edge of the goblin cliffs around the valley area.  There are some fantastic formations that I'd love to spend more time exploring someday, but the schedule only allowed for an overview on this trip.  There were some sandy areas with a lot of prickly pears down below, so we followed the goblin shelf around for a while.  So fun!

I wanted to see if there were ways into the valley from the top of the plateau.  This is important because the top of the plateau eventually drops to ground level a few miles north, and future trip plans might rely on knowing if there are other ways in.  This scene is from a side canyon that leads to a saddle which I think one could climb with a bit of scrambling.

This is where I had originally thought about camping.  Its very cool but its a side canyon without the view of the sunset, so I'm glad I camped where I did.  There are 2 or 3 ways up to the top of the cliffs from here.  Good to know.  These pillars were very cool, and the area below had vast smooth goblin platforms that rolled like dunes.  Lots of little hoodoos and balancing rocks.  The early morning lighting doesn't do it justice, I'm afraid.

In the river bottoms, the sand is churned by cow footprints.  Up here no cow has ever set hoof, and probably very few deer or antelope.  There had been some thunderstorms a few weeks back and I could tell the area had been drenched by the ripples in the sand in the washes.  Things were starting to green up a bit, but you have to imagine how this place would look in a wet spring!  Anyhow, the lack of cattle made the plateau much more lush and green than down below.

Here we are following the edge of the sandstone slab.  Here on the south end it sits high on the top of some cliffs and forms a wide ledge.  However, up ahead the goblins come to the very edge and block the path ahead.  The distant platform is rather isolated from below.  I figured out a way to get to it by climbing a lucky arrangement of goblins, up to a goblin ledge, past the blockage and back down.  I didn't have time to bother with it on this trip, however someday it would be a fun project. 

The goats would walk that edge completely unconcerned-- Literally their hooves half hanging over the 80 foot drop.  I wasn't as worried as I would be usually because I knew that this slab had no thin overhangs or wobbly stones on the edge.  It was solid.

Heading home.  Here we pass the lower west side of the hoodoo campsite where the goblin cliffs touch the stone slab when its at river level and dives underground.   The walk back was uneventful, but I did have some fun walking with the goats near the highway.  I could see people in some of the passing cars doing double takes and freaking out to see the goats.   I observed something interesting as we passed under the highway and got in view of my SUV.  The goats, on their own, left the trail and bee-lined for it.  I didn't think they had great eyesight, nor did I think they were able to recognize cars at that distance, but they both knew right where they were going.

In the end the trip was a total success.  I was a little dissappointed how quickly the goats pooped out in the heat and with full loads, though.  I admit that even my goats arent in the best shape, since I only hike once per week or so and I swap out goats a lot.  To do this right I really need 3+ goats.  I did learn what my water consumption rate was, and that was important.  Day hikes just don't give the right answer.  This trip used up 3 gallons for me, 2 goats and a dog for a hot afternoon, evening, and morning with generous use. 

I'm not sure what next week's hike will be.  I have so many ideas to choose from!
Gorgeous terrain! You need to find the perfect place for all of us to camp and hike next September when Eldon, his wife Debbi, and I plan to visit you and the Swell. Eldon wants to show Debbi the Window. Other than that we're open to camping anywhere you choose! Hopefully others will join us and we can have a mini Rendy!
That would be awesome. We'd be totally up for that!
I really do not have the words to fully describe my awe- what incredible scenery! Beautiful goats and canine too of course.
I do not know how far or fast I would make it in such an area, I would be too side-tracked by the stones at my feet, only to look up and be amazed at the larger rocky vistas.
Thought I'd finish off the thread with some pictures from trips I didn't post at the time because I had planned on using them for an article in the pack goat magazine.


Here's woodstock next to a dinosaur bone.


All the little gray gravel bits here are dino bone.  Something big died here once upon a time.


Woodstock on a different hike.  He's wearing Vincent VanGoat's packs because Vincent wouldn't jump into the SUV.


Just too cool.


Pose.  Pose like never before!


Obviously we don't get a lot of earthquakes here.
See that little log thing at the base of that rock?  Of course a dinosaur bone is found in this spot.  Its a nexus of desert awesomeness.

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