Second Journey into The Maze : Deadman's Trail

Stephanie B

Steph and Blake
Dec 7, 2017
April 27, 2019

On our last day in Canyonlands we chose to hike into Horseshoe Canyon via Deadman's Trail. First used by Native Americans, then by outlaws, sheepherders and cowboys, the trail loses about 700 feet in elevation over roughly 6/10ths of a mile.

The first part of the descent is down slickrock :


Then down a blasted trail replete with a handrail :


Once on the canyon floor it's easy sailing to the Great Gallery. We'd visited the panel a few years ago, back when rock writing was pretty new to us, so this time 'round held more meaning.

Holy Ghost Panel :


I'd just read an article written by Jim Blazik about canines in Barrier Canyon style rock art and enjoyed seeing a few examples at the Great Gallery.

Dog on the left (the one with the curved tail) :


Not sure if this was meant to depict a dog, but it sure reminds me of the figure in Black Dragon (which is assumed to be a dog, or at least a mythical version of one) :


Not a great photo, but here's another dog :


And finally, a small dog next to an ornately decorated figure :


From there we wandered up-canyon and came across some deer that didn't seem very concerned about our presence :


And past the deer sighting we found (thanks to a friend) an unusual pictograph. Is it a bat? A bird? A person in costume?


We were meant to spend one last night at the High Spur campsite, but the gnats the previous evening and this morning were ferocious. So, we hustled back to camp, packed up, aired up, and blew that popsicle stand. On the way out we were treated to the sight of a round-up. And then our truck was treated to an underbody manure sealant which, despite the high grass content, sticks rather tenaciously and is best eliminated with the use of a pressure washer.


All-in-all, a great trip despite the unfinished business.
Regarding the holy ghost panel: I enjoyed this article . Particularly the last paragraph, which blew my mind when I realized there are some pretty advanced spatial and foreshortening art techniques going on in that panel that I'd never noticed before.

I've enjoyed all your pictures... thanks!