Enjoying The Maze, April 2015, Part 1, Days 1-5

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
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878
This is a 10 day backpacking trip I did in the Maze section of Utah's Canyonlands National Park. April, 2015.

Lots of pictures. I'm going to split it up into 2 parts. This part is days 1 through 5.
Part 2 is here: http://backcountrypost.com/threads/enjoying-the-maze-april-2015-part-2-days-6-10.4596/

You can watch the trip video here:


Earlier this year, my friend Keith expressed interest in doing a long backpack down in southern Utah. He had some time off, and had never backpacked down there before. After looking at pictures of several different places, he decided he wanted to check out the Maze. So on Friday, April 3rd, we drove down to Hans Flat, and camped in the van. The next morning we picked up our permits, parked along the North Point Road, and began the long haul out to the Maze.

Day 1. We started around 11am. Its about 12 miles total to the Maze Overlook from where we parked. Almost all of it is completely exposed to the sun. We originally planned on an 11 day trip, so we had all of our food with us. Packs where heavy. We followed the road about a mile, where we reached the actual North Point Trailhead. From there, we dropped down into the canyon, and started following the wash east towards the park's boundary.

Our packs at the beginning:
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Looking east down the North Point Road, with the La Sal Mountains in the distance:
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Me on the left, Keith on the right, at the actual Trailhead:
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The trail dropping down into the canyon:
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Keith on the trail:
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Looking out towards Canyonlands:
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We walked the wash for several miles, before reaching the 4 wheel drive track going out to the Maze Overlook. It was hot, but also windy, which helped to keep us cooler. Here is a cool lizard:
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Keith dropping down to the wash:
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Some views along the way:
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Finally we reached the Maze Boundary:
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Our plan for the night was to drop down into the Maze, and set up a basecamp for 2 nights. So we continued on down.
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It was around 7pm when we reached the Maze Overlook. A beautiful spot.
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A close up of the Chocolate Drops:
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Looking across the maze towards the land of standing rocks:
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Some views of Horse Canyon:
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Keith dropping down the descent into the Maze:
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A last few looks as the light fades away:
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Soon it was dark. We pulled out our headlamps, and continued down the route in the dark. It was definitely exciting. Once we were down, we headed north/east to find a campsite. We finally made camp down in the wash around 10pm. We quickly ate and went to be.


Day 2. This was a rest day. We left the tent set up, and did a day hike. We headed for the Plug, and from there would loop over to Chimney Rock, and down to Harvest Scene. It was a pretty windy day.

Our campsite for nights 1 and 2. It drove me nuts because we were camped down on sand, and it was extremely windy. So the inside of the tent was covered in sand:
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Some views as we began our day hike:
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A quick look at Harvest Scene. The lighting wasn't good, so I took more pictures later:
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Continuing on up canyon:
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Looking back down in the canyon as we climbed up towards the Plug and Doll House road:
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The Plug:
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Standing Rock:
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Chimney Rock:
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From here we dropped back down into the Maze:
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Some of the petroglyphs at Harvest Scene:
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Day 3. We packed up camp, and headed up towards the ridge between Pete's Mesa and Chimney Rock.
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It was extremely windy at the top. But the views are spectacular:
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Looking across at Shot Canyon in the distance:
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Jasper Canyon:
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We continued our way along the ridge to Chimney Rock:
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Next we headed down to Shot Canyon:
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Down in Shot Canyon:
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Getting water:
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Heading up towards the saddle with Water Canyon:
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We set up below the pass, with a fantastic view down Shot Canyon:
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Me about to put together dinner:
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Day 4. We spent the first part of the day exploring. We walked east along the shelf we were camped on. Here is a shot looking back up Shot Canyon:
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Overlooking the Green River, and Water Canyon:
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We circled around and walked up the Water Canyon side:
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Looking down on our tent from the saddle with water canyon:
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Next, we dropped back down into the bottom of Shot Canyon, and spent some time walking around, taking a nice break above Shot' Canyon's pour off.
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Around 3pm, we packed up camp, and hiked over to Water Canyon. Keith hiking up towards the saddle:
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Looking down on Water Canyon:
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Keith beginning the descent:
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Getting water above the waterfall:
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Next we headed up Water Canyon a few miles:
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We set up camp in a beautiful spot, the same exact camp spot I had camped at the year before:
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I finished off the evening with a sausage and potato wrap:
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Day 5. We left camp set up, and went for a day hike. Keith was excited to get out of the tent this morning:
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Looking back at our tent:
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We headed up Water Canyon, and climbed up to the road going to the Doll House.
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The route up to the top of the canyon:
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The views of Water Canyon from the top were beautiful. A cloudy and windy day made the colors stand out:
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Next we took the 4 wheel drive track down towards the Doll House:
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Looking out towards Lizard Rock, The PLug, and Standing Rock:
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The Doll House:
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We didn't hike the Doll House today. Instead we headed down the trail towards the confluence and Water Canyon.
Looking out at the Needles:



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Bee Hive Arch:
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Water! Good to know for the rest of the trip: This is just down from bee hive arch.
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We continued on back towards camp:
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Water Canyon was incredibly beautiful as we dropped down late in the day:
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We made it back to camp just before sunset:
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To be continued..... http://backcountrypost.com/threads/enjoying-the-maze-april-2015-part-2-days-6-10.4596/

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Bob

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Nice ........ you'd a killed me.....
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
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Aug 20, 2014
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The best part of that report was the hat Keith was wearing. Thanks again for the report. This is an area I'll likely never see in person so your report is much appreciated.
 

slc_dan

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I saw your tent/camp the day we hiked up to the chocolate drops, and then out of the canyon and up to Jasper Ridge. Sat, April 4th? I think I recognize your tripod. You may have seen us filtering water at the mouth of Pictograph Canyon. Anyway..

Awesome write up of the first part. So cool to see all the water looking the same as when we were there. You guys were the only backpackers we saw the whole time.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
I saw your tent/camp the day we hiked up to the chocolate drops, and then out of the canyon and up to Jasper Ridge. Sat, April 4th? I think I recognize your tripod. You may have seen us filtering water at the mouth of Pictograph Canyon. Anyway..

Awesome write up of the first part. So cool to see all the water looking the same as when we were there. You guys were the only backpackers we saw the whole time.
Wow, that's crazy. I did see people getting water there about the time your thinking. When I walked out of the grass, it looked as though someone was taking a pee, and not expecting me to walk out. I kind of felt bad about it, so I didn't say anything, and headed up canyon. Not sure if that was your group or not. I would have said hi if I knew that was you.

What route did you do? We didn't see many people either, almost all of the traffic was between Shot, Water, and the Doll House. I spoke with some nice people camped at the overlook both at the start and end of our trip, but that was really it.
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
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Messages
1,686
Wow, that's crazy. I did see people getting water there about the time your thinking. When I walked out of the grass, it looked as though someone was taking a pee, and not expecting me to walk out. I kind of felt bad about it, so I didn't say anything, and headed up canyon. Not sure if that was your group or not. I would have said hi if I knew that was you.

What route did you do? We didn't see many people either, almost all of the traffic was between Shot, Water, and the Doll House. I spoke with some nice people camped at the overlook both at the start and end of our trip, but that was really it.

HA! That was me peeing. I certainly didn't care, only a bit surprised to see someone after not seeing anyone else for a couple days. I can imagine that created an odd situation. No worries.

We came in via Spanish Bottom (Jet boat) to Water Canyon (night one). Into and out of Shot canyon, lunch at Chimney Rock, and into East Fork of Pictograph, Camped near that water/base of the Chocolate Drops (night two). Day hiked up the "Sneak Route" up to the Chocolate Drops, then out and up to Jasper Ridge, camped about a mile from the Doll House (night three). Down the hill and out to the boat.

But 10 days!! I'm jealous of spending that much time out there. That was my first time in the Maze, and really didn't disappoint. I'd love love love to spend that much time out there. Way to prioritize and get it done.
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,686
@slc_dan how was it hiking up Water Canyon? Down was fun to say the least.

The whole trip was spectacular, we only crossed through Water Canyon to get up and out of Shot Canyon. That was a really great part, those old cattle steps are just way too cool.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
HA! That was me peeing. I certainly didn't care, only a bit surprised to see someone after not seeing anyone else for a couple days. I can imagine that created an odd situation. No worries.

We came in via Spanish Bottom (Jet boat) to Water Canyon (night one). Into and out of Shot canyon, lunch at Chimney Rock, and into East Fork of Pictograph, Camped near that water/base of the Chocolate Drops (night two). Day hiked up the "Sneak Route" up to the Chocolate Drops, then out and up to Jasper Ridge, camped about a mile from the Doll House (night three). Down the hill and out to the boat.

But 10 days!! I'm jealous of spending that much time out there. That was my first time in the Maze, and really didn't disappoint. I'd love love love to spend that much time out there. Way to prioritize and get it done.
That is kind of funny. The night before when we were making our camp, I wanted to go camp at a spot not far from Harvest Scene. But I could here people up canyon, and didn't want to startle anyone in the dark. So we settled for the other spot.
 

Glasterpiece

Member
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Joined
Mar 19, 2014
Messages
546
The best part of that report was the hat Keith was wearing. Thanks again for the report. This is an area I'll likely never see in person so your report is much appreciated.
I liked the hat also. I assumed it was Michigan.
 
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