Upper Salt Creek Canyonlands

pstm13

Auribus Teneo Lupum
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Dec 27, 2012
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I am planning a trip to Upper Salt Creek the first part of April. The 1st night is at SC1 from Cathedral Butte, 2nd night at SC3, and 3rd at SC2. After reviewing other posts and reports I had a few questions:

  1. Do I need to hike past SC3 to see the bulk of the ruins and rock art? Some posts suggest no.
  2. If so and I adjust my plans and hike all the way through is there a transportation service I can use for a reasonable cost to get back to Cathedral Butte for my car?
  3. Should I take the light weight "point and shoot" camera or the Nikon D90 with the fat lens?
  4. Wind appears to be an issue with a majority of those hiking during April. Any suggestions on dealing with high winds? I have visions of my little Hi-Tec backpacking tent getting shredded in the middle of the night.
  5. Bears. Are they seriously as reclusive as the guide books describe?
  6. Anything else that I missed?
Thanks in advance...
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
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Do I need to hike past SC3 to see the bulk of the ruins and rock art? Some posts suggest no.

There's a little bit just beyond SC3 that is definitely worth checking out since you'll be camped there. Just walk to the upper jump and you'll find it along the way. A couple miles further there is one very large ruin site just off the trail. If you had extra time it might be worth it, but plenty to explore up canyon so if it's not convenient, you'll still have plenty to see.

If so and I adjust my plans and hike all the way through is there a transportation service I can use for a reasonable cost to get back to Cathedral Butte for my car?

The guide/shuttle places out of Moab will do it but it's not cheap. I think I was told something like $300 per person because it takes so long to drive all the way down there, run the shuttle and then drive back. There's always a chance you could put up a shuttle bounty here on BCP and maybe some members will be in the area that weekend that could help out. Doing the point-to-point route is very enjoyable in my opinion. I would go to great lengths to avoid hiking back out the top.

Should I take the light weight "point and shoot" camera or the Nikon D90 with the fat lens?

Big camera! Aside from climbing back out to cathedral butte, this is an easy hike and well worth packing the big camera.

Wind appears to be an issue with a majority of those hiking during April. Any suggestions on dealing with high winds? I have visions of my little Hi-Tec backpacking tent getting shredded in the middle of the night.
I wouldn't count on wind, I think it just depends on the forecast and it can be all over the place that time of year. It was really windy for us at the end of May but there was a system rolling through. If anything, I've found April to be an excellent month to be on the colorado plateau.


Bears. Are they seriously as reclusive as the guide books describe?

I've seen photos from someone else's trip where they actually got a photo of a cute little cinnamon bear running away. Between SC3 and SC4, the canyon gets very lush with dense vegetation. We never actually saw bears there, but we heard them crashing away from us through the brush. There was bear scat here and there throughout the hike.

I get the feeling that they don't get much chance at eating human food so they're probably pretty good at being afraid of us. Take standard precautions and I think you're fine. You probably already know but the designated sites have big bear cans (ammo boxes) to store your food. If you camp in the at-large zone the park will offer you an ursack because they say there's nowhere to hang food. When I go back, I'll pass on the sack. It would almost be hard not to camp near a suitable cottonwood down there.

Anything else that I missed?

If you're up to exploring, you really couldn't spend too much time in Upper Salt Creek. Looking up into the adjoining canyons we saw many distant ruin sites that I had heard nothing about, not to mention all the cool arches, Big Pocket, etc. Really a wonderful place to backpack.
 

pstm13

Auribus Teneo Lupum
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Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
570
Thank you so much. I plan to post a lot of pics and videos in my first trip report.
 
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