The Maze, Mar. '14

DAA

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On the afternoon of Sat. the 15th of March, I rolled into Hippy Camp just north of Goblin Valley where I met Jeff, Robert and Rachel, Barrett and Zachary. After brief introductions, Jeff explained that Brooke was broke down north of Hanksville and Doug was with him. Shortly afterward, Jeff rolled out to go help too and I decided to go hit Goblin Valley real quick before dark.

A few pics of camp and Goblin Valley.







Jeff didn’t arrive back in camp until fairly late, with the bad news that Brooke’s Trooper was still not running and that he would probably not be able to complete the trip. The next morning, Doug arrived after having spent the night in Hanksville with confirmation that Brooke’s rig wasn’t cooperating and he wouldn’t be coming. Bummer!

So, rolling out of Hippy Camp for The Maze on Sunday morning, we were only five rigs instead of six. Me and Jeff both in LJ’s, Barrett and Zachary in a TJ, Doug in his K-5 and Robert and Rachel in their Dodge CTD.
The Hans Flat road was in pretty decent shape and we made good time to the ranger station. After the obligatory check-in procedure, we were off on down the road towards The Maze.

Our first stop was French cabin. My favorite piece of old junk here is the boiler.




From there we continued on to Flint Flat (so named because of the numerous flint chips and flakes that were there in the old days before people pocketed them all). We took a few minutes to visit the Flint cabins, which are in really good shape, with lots of cool old detritus lying about to pick up and look at.




The cabins were built in 1919 by E.T. Wolverton and T.C. Conley in support of their Nequoia oil company venture. They did a lot of exploring and drilling in the Elaterite and Big Water country but never did find oil. The boiler used to power their drilling rig can still be seen just off the trail in Big Water.

- DAA

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DAA

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From the Flint Cabins we continued on, past the turn for the switchbacks and drove out onto Big Ridge. We stopped for lunch at The Neck, which is one of the more dramatic viewpoints in the area. The ridge is only about 100 feet wide at this spot, but 1,400 feet tall. The views in each direction are mind boggling.




From one spot, you can see Cataract Gorge on the Colorado river, with Imperial Valley and Beef Basin beyond, the Needles district and many of the familiar landmarks there easily identifiable. Looking northeast, you can clearly see the White Rim and Island in the Sky. The La Sals, Abajos, Navajo Mountain, the Henry’s, Aquarius Plateau and Fish Lake High Top – all can be seen from this one spot. Amazing!




Zachary having an “oh crap!” moment.




And after recovering his composure.




Following lunch we backtracked and descended the Flint Switchbacks.




From there it was down Big Water canyon and through Elaterite Basin to skirt Horse Canyon before finally arriving at our campsite destination – The Maze Overlook. Easily one of the best views of any camp, anywhere!










I elected to put up my tent this night, but ended up being too warm – had to unzip my bag and hang an arm and leg out. Note – I left the Springbar home and brought a free standing tent. It is hard finding enough soil to hold a tent stake at The Overlook.






- DAA
 

DAA

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The next morning, Monday the 17th, a few of us took the Overlook trail down into The Maze to go see the Harvest Scene panel.




We stopped to look at this non-descript snake ‘glyph along the way. I’m pretty sure this is the one that Edward Abbey mentions seeing in Desert Solitaire when he describes his hike down into The Maze. So, ever since first finding it on a trip with Randy and Jared a few years ago, I think of it and call it the Abbey snake.




The Harvest Scene was spectacular, as always. We were lucky to have some overcast this morning, which makes for better viewing of this particular panel than direct sunlight.




It takes time and close inspection to start appreciating all the fine detail work in these pictograpsh. One of the many details in the picture below that caught my eye this time is the stooped over figure in the middle. There are two long lines drawn out from the outstretched arm – to me it looks like someone threshing rice grass. Which, by the way, that is what is growing out of the outstretched middle finger of the figure on the right – rice grass.










Then we humped it back up to the camp, hopped in our rigs and started the long bumpy road from there to The Doll House. We took our time, stopping frequently to take pictures or just gawk at the scenery. Our stops became more frequent and longer as we started passing through the Land of Standing Rocks. I personally never get tired of this area!

http://photos.imageevent.com/daffleck/camping/20140317_The Maze_Camping-766-W.jpg




- DAA
 

DAA

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Eventually, we arrived at the Doll House. The Park Service allows only three vehicles per campsite, so we were split up with Jeff, Robert and Doug in #1 and me and Barret in #2. This was my first time staying in #2. I like #1 way better! Especially when the wind is blowing. Which, on this day, the wind was HOWLING! In site #1, you could hardly tell, it is so well protected. In site #2, if anything, the wind was being funneled and was actually blowing HARDER in the campsite than it was in general.

No worries though! I decided it probably wouldn’t be any colder than the night before (even with the wind) and decided to skip the tent. I’m glad I did. The stars were amazing!










I rolled out early Tue. morning to get a cup of coffee ready and take a walk to my favorite huge rock to sit on top of and watch the world fill with light. Didn’t even take any pictures from that spot. Just sat there sipping my coffee and loving life. I did take a few pics while walking back to camp though!









- DAA
 

DAA

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After packing up we all rolled out of the Doll House for Sunset Pass. The views from the west side of the pass and the head of North Hatch Canyon are awesome, the road is fairly smooth and stress free, it’s just a really nice drive through there.




The old Hudson-turned-into-trailer in Hatch Canyon.




Eventually we arrived at and crossed the Dirty Devil, at approximately 100 CFM – no sweat.







We went about halfway up Poison Springs and turned back up Black Jump where we made an early camp and settled in to relax and goof off for the rest of the day.

My bed for this night.




Tons of petrified wood around camp, everywhere you look.



- DAA
 

DAA

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That night we had a nice campfire and everyone lingered later than usual, enjoying the company and swapping stories. A great night along the trail!







After breaking camp Wed. morning we started up Poison Springs, making just a few stops for some of the interesting sights along the way – the Butch Cassidy inscription and a couple of rock art sites.















- DAA
 

DAA

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Eventually, we made it back to pavement on highway 95 south of Hanksville. Jeff had been staring at a low fuel warning light on his dash all of the previous day. Worse, at one point he had said out lout to Doug and I that, quote “… I have NEVER ran out of gas…”. When he said that, Doug and I looked at each other and we were all sure, all three of us, that yup, Jeff was going to run out of gas. And… Sure enough, he did!




Could have been a lot worse. At least he made it back to the highway before running out and only had to be towed about 15 miles into Hanksville.

From Hanksville, Robert and Rachel, Barrett and Zachary headed their separate ways towards home, Twin Falls and St. George. Jeff, Doug and I, couldn’t stand the thought of driving north on highway 6 towards Wellington for the millionth time, so we decided to take the scenic route. Instead of getting on I-70, we headed north on the dirt road up Buckmaster Draw. The entire area was just loaded with mine shafts and mining relics, old building foundations etc. We only stopped to look at a few, but a guy could spend a lot of time right there if he wanted to look at more of it.

From Buckmaster we paralleled Saleratus Wash to the Smith cabin in Tidwell Draw where we took a nice long break.







Then we headed north up Tidwell, along the old Spanish Trail.

At one of our stops we took a little walk just to stretch our legs and I spotted a suspicious looking opening and what looked like rock art. Turns out that is exactly what it was. The pictographs are so faded and exfoliated, they don’t amount to anything but random lines anymore, but it appeared like it was probably a decent panel at one time.




The opening was more interesting… That little opening in the picture is too tight for a man to crawl into. But it goes back in a LONG way. And, more interesting still, the ceiling of it is heavily fire blackened for as far back as I could see. The floor seemed to be relatively loose fill. Pack rat debris and the like. I think the bottom has filled in over time and that the tunnel used to be big enough for a person to get through. Really makes me wonder what might be all the way back in there, if a guy were small enough and brave enough to make the crawl.

Eventually we hit the Green River Cutoff, stopping to snap a couple pics of nearby Rancho Not So Grande.







From there it was high speed bombing out to Castle Dale, then just the highway drive home. Good times had by All! Thanks for the invite Jeff – I enjoyed everyone’s company, had a great time!

- DAA
 

Yvonne

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wow, you're fast with your trip report. I'm so behind editing my pictures :eek:
We headed out on the 16th and had a blast in the Maze. I agree, Dollhouse #1 is the nicest of all three sites, we stayed at #2 which was fine, too.
 

Nick

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Killer trip report, Dave! Amazing how many BCP folk were out in the Maze this month! Love the shots of the High West! :)
 

Artemus

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Good one, Dave! I like the trip barometer... the changing "level" of the high water mark in the whiskey bottle. Or is an hour glass a better analogy. or a hangover meter ???
 

Artemus

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Hey the Dirty Devil was at 100 (I assume you mean CFS) for those crossing pictures? Good reference.
 

DAA

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Hey the Dirty Devil was at 100 (I assume you mean CFS) for those crossing pictures? Good reference.

Art, I "thought" (assumed? presumed?) those numbers were CFM. But I'll absolutely take your word that they are CFS! But yeah, best I can tell from the gaging station data, it was pretty close to 100 for those crossing pics.

- DAA
 

DAA

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Did you use auxiliary gasoline on this route or did you make it on one tank?

All of the above :). Vehicle by vehicle:

LJ w/custom welded aluminum 32 gallon tank (me) - no extra, had 10 gallons in tank still
TJ w/factory gas tank - carried and used 5 gallons extra, made it with about 1 gallon to spare
K-5 with factory gas tank - carried and used 10 gallons extra, made it with plenty to spare
Dodge CTD with factory gas tank - no extra, had 15 gallons in tank still
LJ with dented factory tank (reduced capacity from dent) - carried and used 5 gallons extra, came up about 15 miles short :D




- DAA
 

Mph

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Great report! Awesome country! Btw. How was the ps road?


All of the above :). Vehicle by vehicle:

LJ w/custom welded aluminum 32 gallon tank (me) - no extra, had 10 gallons in tank still
TJ w/factory gas tank - carried and used 5 gallons extra, made it with about 1 gallon to spare
K-5 with factory gas tank - carried and used 10 gallons extra, made it with plenty to spare
Dodge CTD with factory gas tank - no extra, had 15 gallons in tank still
LJ with dented factory tank (reduced capacity from dent) - carried and used 5 gallons extra, came up about 15 miles short :D




- DAA
 

DAA

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PS was in pretty good shape. Have seen it a lot worse, that is for sure.

- DAA
 

Glasterpiece

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Great report. Thank you for sharing.

Waiting for monsoon season to go down.
 
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