Big Dominguez Canyon Overnight

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by hamtron5000, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. hamtron5000

    hamtron5000 Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO
    Hello everybody! It's been a minute (figuratively; more like a year or more!) since I've posted, but I've been lurking faithfully. My first trip report was about an overnighter in the Little Bookcliffs Wilderness Study Area near Grand Junction, CO. Today, I'll share a recent overnighter through Big Dominguez Canyon, just south of Grand Junction.

    My friend Jess and I have been dreaming about doing this hike for at least three years, ever since we overheard two guys in the local Nepalese restaurant talking about their hiking experience. We decided that we would do it, "someday", but someday took its sweet time. Jess started grad school, I moved; life went as it would. Finally, though, we reconnected about this idea in January or February, and committed. This time we would make it happen, and nothing would stand in our way.

    Finally, over spring break, we tackled the canyon. We dropped her car off at Bridgeport, caught a ride with two then-strangers who are now friends, and set out from the top of the Uncompahgre Plateau. We gave ourselves three days and two nights for the 16.4ish miles, in case we needed it.

    Here's the two of us getting ready to start, posing like champions!

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    The Dominguez Canyon Wilderness beckoned.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Before long, we were heading out through a pinyon-juniper forest, the sounds of Big Dominguez Creek in the distance.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    It was a truly beautiful day for a hike.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Jess soaked in the view.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    There are signs of habitation all throughout, both European and pre-European. Here we found a survey marker from 1937.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    After about 7 or 8 miles of hiking we came across this oven at a camp site, and decided it would be a good place for us to stop.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    We filtered an absolute ton of water, it felt like, but you can't really beat this view...

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Across the creek you could see this insect sac, which I jokingly called a tree snail. Not 100% sure what it really is, but it's neat looking.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Jess set up her tent near the base of this structure, while I set mine up under a tree.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    My little Nemo Veda 1p trekking pole tent was super snug and perfect for this trip. I recommend it if you're looking for something both light and roomy.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Caught some pleasant morning light after a good night's sleep!

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Before long I got my backpack, Rhoda, all loaded up. She's a Deuter ACT-Lite 65+10, and we're best buddies.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    The color of the dirt had even changed.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    But the little plants were blooming!

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Day 2 and we're still friends.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    I'm not sure what this feature would be called; it's basically an arch, but it's also cave and tunnel-like.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    A bit closer up.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    At long, sweet last we made it to the Cactus Park intersection, which meant we had already hiked in further than we needed to go still. At this point, we decided we could push ourselves and make it all the way through in one less day than we'd planned.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    It's me at the junction!

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Soon we found the remains of an old copper mine.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    And the signs of the folk who'd lived and worked there. This is courtesy of Mr. Archie Smith, January 27, 1907. It really felt like almost stepping back in time.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Miners left their relics.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    We saw a gorgeous natural amphitheater.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    And filtered even more water!

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Finally, we reached the largest panel of rock art I've seen myself. We pondered at length over what it all meant. We didn't reach any conclusions, but we did feel a connection to the ancient people who walked these same canyons.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Finally, after a 9-mile second day, we made it!

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    One last picture, before heading back to town for pizza and beer.

    [​IMG]Big Dominguez Trip by Andy Hamilton, on Flickr

    Like I said, we had been planning that trip forever, but I do want to thank whoever runs the amazing site gjhikes.com. I used their material on Big Dominguez to plan our trip, and I consult that site almost every week when I plan the outings for our hiking club.

    Well, that's about all for now. Thanks for looking!
     
Loading...