Trail Pictures

Lake Powell

Maze

Maze

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze

Tracy @ Maze Overlook

Tracy @ Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Tracy @ Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze

Maze

Maze

Tracy @ the trail

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

Maze Overlook

La Sals

Truck @ Maze

Road

Maze

Road

Road

Road

Maze

Maze

Maze

Maze

The mud road

The mud road

The cliff

The cliff

The cliff

Orange Cliffs

Orange Cliffs

Orange Cliffs

Tracy

Mule Canyon

Mule Canyon

Mule Canyon

Mule Canyon

Mule Canyon

Mule Canyon

Tracy's self-portraits

http://

mapper.acme.com/?

ll=37.52385,-109.63240

&z=15&t=T

Butler Wash

Butler Wash

Butler Wash

Butler Wash

Butler Wash

Butler Wash

The Maze District - Canyonlands

        Utah Area Trails Causey Sep 2013 Leidy Peak/Lakeshore Little East Fork Blacks Fork Brown Duck Basin Robber's Roost May 13 Coyote Gulch 2013 Happy Canyon Robber's Roost Mar 13 Comet Needles Feb 2013 Colton Cabin Moab Bill Moonshine Wash Uintas Fall 2012 McCoy Park 2012 Spider Lake Popo Agie Tosi Creek West Fork Blacks Fork East Fork Bear River Camp East Fork Bear River Center Park Uinta River Moab and San Rafael Swell Dirty Devil with James West Desert San Rafael Desert S. Utah with Cory Lake Powell 2011 The Needles The Maze E Fork Burnt Fork Leidy Peak Burnt Fork Granite Highline Causey May 11 Green River Buck Canyon Antelope Apr 11 Smith Fork Grizzly Ridge Yurt Moab Arches Bear River Moab Flight Snowbasin Art Nord Moab Rim Zion Dry Fork Naturalist Basin Timpanogos Cave Meteor Shower Yellowstone Creek McCoy Park Ostler Creek Granddaddy Causey Southern Utah Coyote Gulch White Canyon - Moqui Canyon Tetons - Cabin Southern Utah Wildhorse Canyon Snowbasin Great Salt Lake Snowbasin Robber's Roost Deep Creeks Farmington Canyon Nine Mile Canyon Fish Lake - McCoy Park Harris Wash Antelope Island Moab Southern Utah Log Hollow Moab Lake Powell Wasatch Buckskin Gulch Deseret Peak Pine Valley Logan Canyon Causey Reservoir China Meadows Haystack Lake Cow Park Highline Grandaddy Lakes Amethyst Basin Uintas Cat Canyon Southern Utah Southern Utah Glen Canyon Swett Canyon Antelope Island Uintas - Yurt Pebble Creek Robbers Roost Antelope/ Lost Creek N Fork Provo River Capitol Reef Pine Valley Wilderness Uintas Stillwater Reservoir Grandaddy Mountain Logan Canyon Canyonlands Arches Twin Lakes Kabell Lake Amethyst Basin South Cedar Ridge Canyon Hurricane Wash Middle Fork of the Ogden River Moab Cat Canyon Crack Canyon Causey Reservoir St George Log Hollow Canyonlands Steam Mill Canyon Row Bench Rubies Highline Causey Reservoir Flat Tops Grand Daddy Lake Antelope Island White Pine Lake Brown Duck Flaming Gorge Snowbasin Swasey Lakes Spooky Gulch White Rock Bay Grand Gulch Cat Canyon Moon Lake Antelope Island Antelope Island Long Park Grand Daddy Lake Hades Pass Tom's Canyon Just arrived

The weekend of 7 Oct 11, we finally headed out to the Maze District (Yahoo Map) of

Canyonlands National Park.  I had been wanting to do this area for a couple of years, but I was

always scared by the stories of how bad the roads are...but I was drawn by the stories of how

remote the area is.  I had driven out the Hans Flat ranger station not long after we moved

here, and I tried driving past it, but I got scared of the road after just a mile or so past the

ranger station...so I was really worried to drive 20 miles past the ranger station.  But I

summoned up my courage and got a permit for two nights in the Maze.  I figured I might break

my truck in half, but I would give it a shot.

There are really only two ways into the Maze: from Hans Flat and from Hite.  The Hans Flat

road has a really steep switchback section, but the Hite road is further from home and a longer

drive.  But I was still worried about the steep switchback section of the Flint Trail, so I decided

to drive in from Hite.  We stayed Friday night in Green River, and then called in the next

morning to get our permit.  Actually, I think we actually got our permit over the phone the day

before, but we kept checking with the ranger station because there had been rain for the past

couple of days, and I was worried about the condition of the roads.  The ranger said she

thought the roads were okay, though, and she issued our permit over the phone.  So we drove

down to Hite, filled up on gas at the one pump station at Hite, and then headed into the

wilderness.

On the way, we saw that Lake Powell was much higher than we had ever seen it.  I looked it up

when we got back, and the water level is nearly 40 feet higher than the lowest we have seen it.

That's crazy higher.  But the drive coming in at Orange Cliffs started out well.  Tracy drove for

the first couple of hours, because the road was dry and easy to drive on.  I started driving after

about 35 miles in around the road that turned off to the Doll House.  The Doll House road gives

the best access to the Maze, but that is the worst road in the Park, so I definitely didn't have

the guts to try it by myself for the first time.  So we kept on going towards the Orange Cliffs.

We passed the first and only other vehicle just before we started up on a bench of the Orange

Cliffs...they looked happy and their truck looked clean, so we figured they hadn't run into

anything bad.  But after about 20 minutes, the road climbed steeply up onto the bench, and I

dropped it into 4 wheel drive for the first time...and it started raining.  Once we got up onto the

bench, it started raining more very quickly, just as we found the horrible bentonite clay.  I drove

up over a small hill where I slid all over the place, and then dropped down into a small low-lying

area, where the road was completely clay.  Looking about 30 yards up the road, I saw that the

road swung out on the edge of a cliff for the first time on the drive, and the road still looked like

clay.  Not wanting to risk sliding off the side of a 1000 foot cliff, I stopped the truck to wait out

the rain storm.  Once I stopped, I put on my rain gear and walked on up the road, and decided

that, yeah, I didn't want to drive that in the rain.  I walked about a mile up the road, and that

whole mile was on the edge of the cliff and it was all clay.  After a mile, the road moved away

from the cliff, and it wasn't as slick.  It also stopped raining, so I started back to the truck.  But

about 15 minutes later, just as I was almost back at the truck, it started raining again...harder.

By the time I got back to the truck, I was barely able to walk on the road because it was so

slick.  This wasn't turning out good.  Water was starting to run off the cliffs into waterfalls over

the cliff.  It wasn't good.  I started thinking that we may not be able to keep going forward, and

we might have to turn around.  So I walked back down the road from where we came.  But that

direction was even worse for 100 yards behind us.  I didn't think we would have any chance of

getting back up the small hill we had just come back down.  If we had stopped 100 yards

earlier we would have been fine...but now it looked like we were stuck.

The rain stopped after about 30 minutes.  By now we had been stopped for almost two hours.

But after the rain stopped, the sky didn't clear up, and the road wasn't drying quickly.  We sat

there for about two more hours before I decided that it had dried enough to risk continuing the

drive.  So we just hung on and drove.  The worst muddy spot was right by where we had

stopped, but we got by without too much sliding toward the edge of the cliff.  After that, we ran

into three significant waterholes that we had to negotiate.  One of those was in a precarious

spot above the cliff, and one of them was long and deep.  It took us nearly two hours to get

through the mud holes, but we eventually made it to the Flint Trail, and the road was much

drier.

The driving became much easier for awhile, but soon we hit some tough rocks.  Over the next

few miles on the trail, we hit three spots that were the toughest rock crawling that I had ever

done.  My fear that I would break my truck resurfaced, but Tracy did a great job of guiding

me...after she figured out what she needed to do...and we made it through without any big

problems.  But that took a long time to negotiate, also, and about two miles before the

Overlook, we both decided we had had enough, and it was getting dark.  So we stopped before

the overlook to camp for the night.  After dark, we walked about a mile up the road, just

enjoying the moon and desert.  The night went uneventfully, but we both decided that the road

had worn us out, and we decided we just wanted to dayhike the Maze instead of backpacking

it.  We had literally only seen one car all day long, and that was at 10 am.

So, the next day we got up and drove to the Overlook.  The Maze was really pretty, and I'm

glad we drove out here.  But we both kind of felt that it looked a lot like the Robber's Roost

area...and it was a LOT harder to get to.  We stayed there for an hour looking at the steep trail

climbing down into the Maze, and we decided that we just didn't feel like dealing with it.  The

climb down looked tough, and we were still worried about the challenging drive out that we

needed to do.  I knew that I would be worried about the drive the whole time we were hiking, so

I just wanted to get out to know if I could do it.  The bad parts coming in were mostly downhill,

so I knew they would be harder when going uphill, and I had such little experience with those

kinds of obstacles, that I just wanted to know for sure that we could make it.  So, we left the

Maze after about an hour and headed out.  We ended up having absolutely no problems

getting out whatsoever.  We had both gotten better at negotiating the obstacles, and the road

had dried out, so we made it out in just about 5 hours.  We used about 1/2 a tank of gas, and

only put 100 miles on the truck.  But that about 50 of those miles were in 4 wheel drive, and the

100 miles took almost 16 hours to drive!

But we went back to Hite to get some gas, and then we headed towards Cedar Mesa.  We

walked a little around the lake near Hite, but then continued towards Cedar Mesa.  I wanted to

check out some of the ruins on Cedar Mesa, but when we got down there, I remembered why

we never hike out here: the BLM charges to park at every single trailhead anywhere near the

Mesa.  It's really very frustrating.  We checked out a couple of trails, but I wasn't sure if our

Parks pass was accepted at the trailheads, so we just kept driving.  We ended up going down

the Moki Dugway, and then we drove into Bluff.  I wanted to stay in Bluff, so we found a room

there.  I wanted to walk around, but the Maze had just worn us out, so we ended up crashing

right after dinner.  The next day, Monday, was a holiday, and we were scheduled to take

vacation days on Tuesday, because the original plan was to spend two days backpacking in

the Maze.  By now, though, we had completely screwed up the backpacking plans, and I didn't

want to waste a vacation day not backpacking.  We did have Monday, though, so we hiked up

Mule Canyon (Yahoo Map).  We grudgingly paid the parking fee, since I'm still not sure if our

pass is accepted, and then we hiked up the canyon.  We saw a couple of nice ruins, and the

trail was easy, but I ultimately decided that I enjoy big slickrock canyons better than the riparian

canyons where the ruins are found.  The ruins are neat, but I just don't like hiking around the

Cedar Mesa area as much as I like the slickrock areas.  That's probably just as well, because I

don't want to pay to hike, either.

After Mule Canyon we decided to head back home so Tracy could save her vacation time.  I

really liked the Maze.  After leaving, I decided that I still want to backpack the area.  I still don't

want to drive into the Doll House area because I have read that the road is really bad.  I also

don't particularly want to hike down from the Overlook after making such a long drive.  So, next

time I think we'll start from the Golden Stairs.  This avoids all the bad roads, and it puts you into

the Doll House area after a relatively short road walk.  I hadn't paid any attention to that trail

when looking at the map, but i now think that's probably the best way into the Maze.  It's still

going to take at least three days to backpack it, but I think it would be worth it.  The only other

issue I have is the required permits...that's not something you have to deal with in the Roost,

but I'll deal with it.  All in all, the driving out to the Maze taught me one important thing: I can

drive worse roads than I thought I could.  This is good (and maybe bad) because it gave me

more confidence in the truck and in our abilities.