My Journey

Before writing this very post I went back to the climbing website where I first found the information for climbing Yellow Rock and I thought it interesting when I reread that climbing page as the author says "my pictures do this place no justice. It's one of the most beautiful places to see" (or something very similar to that). The point being.....this place is yet one more majical place located in southeast Utah.....

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We hiked all over this big Yellow Rock.....

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And then my eyes began to scan the horizon and I wondered what else there was to see.....

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And it turned out that the answer was that there was a lot to see.....so that's what we've been doing lately.....and oh man.....have we ever seen a lot.....

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We have so much more to share.....we have not been sitting on our butts much lately.....can't wait to share.....

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Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Never known you to have sat on your butt much. I think you’re camped pretty close to a favorite spot of mine along Cottonwood Creek Road. The Yeller Mountain looks pretty unique.


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Ace.....we were on Cottonwood Canyon Road.....not Cottonwood Creek Road. This road is just west of Big Water, Utah and north of Highway 89.....I may have messed you up by saying that we are in southeast Utah.....I pulled out my atlas this morning and now realize that we have been & are in southwest Utah.....



Now our next camp was set up about 2 miles north of Highway 89 along Cottonwood Canyon Road.....a dirt road that runs north-south through paradise.....

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.....this beautiful place is located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Once this national monument contained 1.88 million acres but the current administration reduced its area to nearly half that area at the same time as they reduced the Bears Ears National Monument.....believe me these lands are sacred and that act is a travesty to the health of our public lands.....

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We ended up loving this area so much that our next 6 nights were spent camped here.....and right out the door were tons of amazing places to explore.....this butte stood tall from our window view and it didn't take us long to hike there to see what we could see.....

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And what we could see was certainly stunning.....

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There was a stark contrast in the colors here as opposed to what we encountered just a few miles to the south.....there the dominant colors seemed to be reds and oranges but here they had changed to browns and beiges.....and a bit of black as well.....it took time to embrace the new colors.....but I would fall in love with these landscapes as well.....

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We came at this butte from the east.....and once we reached the bottom of the massive cliffs I began to wonder what was on the other side.....so we began to hike around the southern side of the butte where we came across these tiny black mountains.....

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A short break at a conveniently located water hole along the way.....nearly complete ice at this time of year.....then back at it.....

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At this point I realized that this thing was huge.....it ran for quite a distance in an east-west direction.....and now I wanted to climb it. I began to scope slopes that I thought we might be able to climb.....but every slope was steep and the scree was as loose & unstable as scree can be.....

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Even 4 point climbing seemed too dangerous to me.....I climb alone so being cautious is my creed.....up we'd go and down we'd go.....trying a few different routes to the top.....

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We attempted twice to gain access to the summit along its southern wall but were turned back each time.....either just too steep or the poor footing just made it impossible.....

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We tried again at the western most point on what I now realized was a long ridgeline.....here there was a game trail and I thought that I found the way. But near the top the drop offs on either side of the game trail were game changers for me and I wouldn't risk it.....

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We continued to hike around the butte and finally on the north side we found our route to the top.....it too was sketchy and at one point we skirted a small cliff for maybe 15 fifteen.....this was the crux of the climb. I built a small stone cairn at our exit point.....this was key to finding our way down.....

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The views from our summit were outstanding.....we saw no footprints of man but we did see signs of the four legged kind. At the highest point of the butte there was this fracture in the rock which created a cave.....

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I was hesitant to climb in there.....Tanner not so much. I could envision a mountain lion and her cubs here but we encountered nothing. I named this Butte 5220.....the elevation at its highest point.....

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We downclimbed without difficulties and completed the circumnavigation of Butte 5220.....beautiful rocks laid at its base.....works of art indeed.....

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Four hours of sheer pleasure was found here.....

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.....and a beautiful sky to end yet another wonderful day in the wilderness.....

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One day we took the Jeep north for 12 miles on the Cottonwood Canyon Road to the trailhead for Lower Hackberry Canyon.....

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This trailhead was the same as the trailhead that we accessed for Yellow Rock and this canyon was one that I had eyed from the summit of that enormous rock.....

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It was cold that morning when we arrived and it was cold throughout that entire day.....

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As you can see in the pictures the river is frozen over.....but underneath it's a different story.....

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To say that there is a trail here is a bit misleading.....most of the hiking here is in the creek or on this day on the ice.....

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Hiking on this continuous sheet of ice was a bit unsettling.....

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There of course was no way of knowing the depth of the water below the ice.....

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Tanner took the lead the entire way.....

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Tanner was the "canary in the coalmine" so to speak.....

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He weighs in at 70 pounds.....and I at 170 pounds.....when he broke through the ice, I searched for an alternate route.....

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There were several times that the alternate route was no better than what Tanner had picked.....and I too fell through.....

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Eventually we came to an old barbed wire fence that crossed the creek and stretched to the canyon walls.....

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Beyond here the canyon walls fell away and the area surrounding the creek widened and a small forest grew.....

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We hiked further and encountered this log cabin along the creeks bank.....

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It absolutely amazed me that someone could live in such a remote place.....

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Inside we found a summit log.....or maybe it's called a visitors log in a place such as this.....

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After signing the log we took a summit shot.....or maybe it's called a visitors shot in a place such as this.....

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Last edited:
halseyt.....my feet are still cold this morning. Once again we are without heat in the camper as the batteries have gone dead. Yesterday was filled with clouds, snow flurries and squalls so there was little charging of the batteries.....I'd guess it's maybe 10 to 15 degrees now.....I may need to break out my generator if I choose to stay here. Three years and never used.....this is what we do for now.....

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The cabin was as far north as we went that day.....we headed back to the camper and passed by these guys along the way.....

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Then it was back into that cold canyon retracing our steps across the ice.....

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Unfortunately we did not see any Rocky Mountain Sheep that day.....a few days after this hike I had a conversation with a BLM employee that said he's seen them every time that he had hiked here.....the day was still a complete success.....

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We did come across these footprints which were not there on the way in.....these footprints were a bit larger than what Tanner left behind.....no doubt in my mind that a mountain lion had come here to quench its thirst.....

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tgil

Well-known member
Kind of cool, kind of un-nerving that a big cat was in the area while you were. What did Tanner think about the longhorns? Cows are Scout's favorite critter. There is a small pasture, close to home, with longhorns. She watches for them every time we drive by there.
 

fisher205

Explorer
Jerry,
Those appear to be a canine print. If it is larger than Tanner's it probably is a wolf. It would be too large for fox or coyote. A mountain lion won't leave claw marks. A lion's are a more circular shape. Beautiful canyon. That is one of my favorite areas to visit. I did a full moon hike north of there 30 years ago. I am glad you are enjoying the area
 

VanWaLife

Active member
It's hard to beat the national monuments for crowd-averse dog lovers. Me and the pup hiked down Harris Wash to spend a night on the banks of the Escalante years ago. One of these days we'll get back there...but not in December! Brrrrrrrr.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Jerry,
Those appear to be a canine print. If it is larger than Tanner's it probably is a wolf. It would be too large for fox or coyote. A mountain lion won't leave claw marks. A lion's are a more circular shape. Beautiful canyon. That is one of my favorite areas to visit. I did a full moon hike north of there 30 years ago. I am glad you are enjoying the area
Yeh, I agree those aren’t cat tracks. They are much more circular just like a house kitty.


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longhorn1

Observer
Awesome photos. The rock formations are beautiful. It is amazing what one can find. There is so much to see and so little time to see it. Time for our resident geologist to chime in. Interested in what Foy will have to say.🙂
 

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