A little bit of everything & don't drive on blue clay when wet


Apr 22, 2013
Had another trip planed for early October.
Wasn't really sure where I would end up but I brought all the necessary equipment just in case.
Kayak, check
Backpack & camping gear, check
Shovel, tow strap & battery jump starter, check
I was ready to take in some natural splendor!

Headed up north and stopped by Lockett Meadow in the San Francisco Peaks for some fall colors


Decided to head toward Lee's Ferry for the night. Been wanting to hike the Spencer Trail and find a web cam that the National Park service has built up there.
After camping out I got up at 3:30 AM and hit the trail...

Got to the top of ridge before sunrise and took in Lee's Ferry from above

Looking toward Page, AZ

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My destination!

Had to take a selfie with the webcam!

IMG_7225.pngHiking down the Spencer trail was a whole new experience without using a headlamp! It really is just switchbacks along the side of a cliff

After seeing Marble canyon and Horseshoe Bend in the distance from the top... I decided to load up the kayak and head upstream & camp by Horseshoe Bend. I mean how hard could it really be?

A mear 4 miles later I'm exhausted! Its 9 miles to Horseshoe bend & I'm not even halfway there. I'm camping for the night and see if I can regroup in the morning. This would turn out to be a great thing my campsite had the perfect view for sunset.


One of the coolest sunset photos I've taken...

First light of the day hits the canyon wall



The beauty of the canyon keeps me going... just gotta fight that current a little more. GPS says its just around the bend
A last... my first view of all the tourists standing at the edge of Horseshoe bend.... Just little specks mind you at the top of that cliff, but at least I've arrived!
Looking straight up at the new platform they made with a lot of tourists enjoying the viewbackcountry-05967.jpg



After a little lunch I decide to head back. It barely took two hours to float back to Lee's Ferry. I then made a decision that would have huge impact on the rest of the trip.
I could drive up to Page and see Horseshoe Bend at sunset with all the tourists.... but I've really enjoyed the solitude so far. Why not drive to Alstrom Point for sunset...
What a decision that would be!



Made it to Alstrom Point with just the last moments of daylight...


Next morning I woke up to rain...


Things started to clear up.... and just wow that view!
and then the rain came again... I was starting to worry about road conditions. There are many miles of blue clay I have to drive over to get back to Big Water. Ya, things are about to get interesting

I waited a few hours after the rain stopped... should be enough time for things to dry out right? WRONG!

After getting stuck 3 or 4 times in the blue clay I come across a flowing wash.... wait a few more hours for that to go down.
Its been an exhausting day and I'm wishing I had just camped out at Alstrom Point again. I mean beautiful views and no driving on blue clay sounds like a better idea.
But I'm hellbent on getting out... before dark. Ironic because I really have no agenda and nowhere to be for several more daysDSC06150.JPG

Ya, made it across the the wash, I'm home free right! NOPE. Not even 2 miles down the road I make a horrible mistake & get STUCK!

The next morning.... I didn't take any photos because I was too busy (and dirty) digging myself out of a wash I tried to drive around.
It was a really bad, bad idea. I was high centered and wasn't going anywhere. Amazingly enough I had cell coverage and tried making a few phone calls.
Towing companies pretty much laughed...

So... I was wearing my Backcountry T-shirt and that reminded me that I could make a post on the forum!
Sure appreciated the leads I got! However, within 15 minutes of making the post someone very well prepared came along and pulled me out!

Glad I didn't fall in that ditch... its about 10 feet downDSC06168.JPG

Can you say a dirty mess? Still had 10 miles back to highway 89 & the report from the people who pulled me out wasn't reassuring I wasn't going to get stuck againDSC06166.JPG

However, the roads were drying & I made it without incident!
Drove to Kanab for the night and got a shower.... and washed the car. I couldn't drive over 45 MPH with all the blue clay stuck to my wheels... the vibration was insane!
Definitely learned a few things though.... rain and blue clay is not fun

Next day I was back at it... a local slot canyon would do the trick!DSC06210.JPG





Spent most of the day exploring the slot canyon... from there I was heading to Escalante as I had a cabin waiting for me.
Since I was driving through Bryce and the sun was setting I thought I'd sit and reflect...DSC06373.JPG



Next day I thought I'd see how the Fall colors were coming by the Escalante river. DSC06428.JPG


Thought this was a little out of place... almost touched the wire too

Headed over to Lower Calf Creek Falls afterward


A lovely sign by the Falls... DSC06566.JPG

Stopped by the Escalante overlook for sunset... nice colors but a few clouds would have been nicebackcountry-06659.jpgbackcountry-06679.jpg

Next day was time to drive home.... since I didn't stop by the Horseshoe Bend overlook earlier I thought I correct that mistake.



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Tire chains do wonders in mud
Time to get some mud terrain tires for that Subie. Great photos, you're right about that sunset shot being really cool.
Was wondering what led to you getting stuck. Glad you made it out and are sharing your great photos with us. The sunset ones are really nice, but the one where you said "wow that view" is simply outstanding.
This is so awesome. I love your trip reports. I've long wanted to float that stretch below the dam but I had always figured I'd have to get up it with a motor and then float back down. Good on you for paddling upstream! I would have made the same choice to head for Alstrom. The last time I made my way out there was on New Years Day 2017. It was so muddy and sloppy that we had no choice but to turn around somewhere around Wiregrass Canyon. And that was in a proper 4WD vehicle with good all terrain tires! Glad you got pulled out so quick. That could have gone a lot differently.
Awesome TR! Fantastic photos. So glad you got out @o2bav8 .... We will check out the Alstrom point in some weeks. I was concerned the local leads might also just laugh (like the towing companies). You were lucky that the guardian angles arrived 15 mins after your post, I deleted the phone numbers after you got out.
Which slot canyon is that @o2bav8 ? Is that Waterholes Slot canyon west bound towards the river? Or another one? We will be there early December and we are always up for spending the day in a new slot canyon.
Amazing photos! What a great share! I love how you just kept at it. What a difference from the beginning photos of your car to the end haha :)
@o2bav8 - how did it go cleaning up your Subaru after that “wet blue clay - getting stuck event” ?
We had the first wet blue clay experience today close to White Rocks (Churwell Utah). Luckily we parked the Jeep on dry clay.
We took just 1, 2, 3 steps in what looked like dry blue clay. Immediately that stuff was caked onto our boots. Its crazy how that blue clay sticks on to everything. Any tips- just clean with enough water, or let it dry and brush it off?
@o2bav8 - how did it go cleaning up your Subaru after that “wet blue clay - getting stuck event” ?
We had the first wet blue clay experience today close to White Rocks (Churwell Utah). Luckily we parked the Jeep on dry clay.
We took just 1, 2, 3 steps in what looked like dry blue clay. Immediately that stuff was caked onto our boots. Its crazy how that blue clay sticks on to everything. Any tips- just clean with enough water, or let it dry and brush it off?

Been there. Done that. In flipflops. Imagine flipflops with clay on the bottom. It seemed bad but we were at Panorama Point by sunset.
Somehow I missed this post earlier on. Then again, I've been so busy I haven't been as active here on BCP this fall. That seems to happen every year. Anyways, great report with great pics! Those views from Alstrom are pretty awesome looking. I've never been, but now it looks enticing. When it's dry of course. Glad you got help when you did. And that Spencer Trail at Lee's Ferry...Congrats on making it to the top. I tried that myself one morning while camped at the campground down there, but only made it about 2/3 of the way up before throwing in the towel due to time constraints (the rest of my family was sleeping in down at camp). I remember one spot maybe half way up where the trail felt like it narrowed to less than 12 inches, with a sheer wall on the one edge of it and a considerable slide down off a cliff on the other and I slowed down to almost a literal crawl being extra cautious with with my footing and center of gravity to get by the spot only to have to do it all over again coming back down. Yep...my fear of heights surfaced for a moment on that one.
Nice pictures. The Alstrom point view down to Padre Bay and Gunsight Butte in Powell are real nice. Looks like a great trip. The mud part, was crazy, but live and learn. Cottonwood Wash Road has some of that same type of mud when wet. What was the name of the slot canyon near Kanab?