enlarge 92KB, 800x568 1 ut05-d1-001b Gov't Trail Trailhead: Danny, Allison, and Shelby - getting ready to head out. We had a rough time getting to the trailhead the previous night. There had been a snowstorm on Cedar Mesa and after it melted, the road was a gooey mess. I gunned my Corolla but only made it about a hundred yards from the paved road before getting stuck. The guys were able to push it back to the main road. Our other vehicle was an old Cadillac sedan with 2WD but we had the advantage of a crazy driver (Shelby). So we packed what gear we could into it and Shelby, Roger, Dan, Allison took off. Eric and I wated to see if they would make it back for the second triop. About 45 minutes later the Caddy roared back. After packing the rest of the gear in, we shuttled the Corolla back to the Kane Gulch Ranger Station. What followed next was the wildest ride of my life. What we lacked in traction we had to make up for with speed.
enlarge 111KB, 800x568 2 ut05-d1-002b So off we went, with Hip Hop Rap blaring from the speakers, we tore down the road sashshaying back and forth as we tore through the mud and large pools of water covering the road. Somehow, we made it to about a couple of hundred yards from the trailhead, stopping only when the bedrock threatened the undercarriage. We packed our gear to the trailhead and made camp for the night - as it was getting dark we did not want to repeat our 2002 experience.
It was a beautiful morning with no sign of the thunderheads that had brought the previous day's snow and sleet. Here Roger and Danny are getting their gear together.
enlarge 149KB, 800x568 3 ut05-d1-003b This is the start of the mesa top Government trail with the trail register at the left.
enlarge 92KB, 800x568 4 ut05-d1-004b A good view of the mesa and the far off mountains.
enlarge 40KB, 533x800 5 ut05-d1-005r Dan and Eric with a little morning levity.
enlarge 33KB, 533x800 6 ut05-d1-006r Eric and concertina provide "Entertainment!!" for the rest of the group.
enlarge 72KB, 800x533 7 ut05-d1-007r Obviously Eric is not much of a singer.
enlarge 120KB, 800x533 8 ut05-d1-008r Getting my stuff together.
enlarge 94KB, 800x568 9 ut05-d1-009b We're off - Roger in the middle distance. You would never know that there was a deep canyon between here and the low ridge beyond.
enlarge 105KB, 800x598 10 ut05-d1-010a The trail heads down an old road across the mesa top.
enlarge 115KB, 598x800 11 ut05-d1-010a2 Another view.
enlarge 101KB, 800x598 12 ut05-d1-010a3 You can see the edge of the canyon in this view.
enlarge 103KB, 800x598 13 ut05-d1-010a4 Looking towards the "Bears Ears".
enlarge 97KB, 800x598 14 ut05-d1-010a5 Looking down Gulch from the mesa top.
enlarge 88KB, 800x568 15 ut05-d1-010b The "Bear's Ears"
enlarge 104KB, 568x800 16 ut05-d1-011b After hiking across the mesa top you suddenly come to the edge of the cliff that is Grand Gulch. Here Danny is taking a break in the sun. Notice the water in the pools, indicating the previous day's precipitation.
enlarge 82KB, 598x800 17 ut05-d1-012a1 Roger - taking a break at the mesa top.
enlarge 104KB, 800x598 18 ut05-d1-012a2 Eric at mesa top.
enlarge 73KB, 800x533 19 ut05-d1-012r Roger got this shot looking back to the point the Gov't trail leaves the mesa top. Allison waving for the camera.
enlarge 87KB, 800x533 20 ut05-d1-013r Looking towards Polly's Canyon.
enlarge 119KB, 800x533 21 ut05-d1-014r More potholes filled with water - it had been a wet spring.
enlarge 133KB, 568x800 22 ut05-d1-015b Looking down into the Gulch - that is Polly's Island on the left with the old rincon (green area) going around it.
enlarge 114KB, 598x800 23 ut05-d1-016a1 Looking down to abandoned Rincon around Polly's Island
enlarge 119KB, 568x800 24 ut05-d1-016b Looking down the Gulch was something we didn't expect to see - a river. While there was a trickle from Polly's Canyon in 2000 that soon dried up, it had been bone dry in 2002. If you look closely you can see the Gov't trail on the bench at the left of the picture.
enlarge 123KB, 533x800 25 ut05-d1-017r Roger's telephoto of the water flowing in the canyon.
enlarge 96KB, 568x800 26 ut05-d1-018b Looking up the gulch you can see the where Polly's Canyon comes into the Gulch (at large cottonwoods in distance).
enlarge 87KB, 598x800 27 ut05-d1-019a0 Roger - on mesa top.
enlarge 104KB, 800x598 28 ut05-d1-022a1 Top of Polly's Island across the Canyon - note ruins below the mesa top.
enlarge 81KB, 568x800 29 ut05-d1-019b Across the canyon there are these ruins near the top of the cliff on Polly's Island. See picture by F.E. Leeka (Green Expedition 1891) on page 43 of "Cowboys & Cave Dwellers" by Fred Blackburn and Ray Williamson.
enlarge 108KB, 800x533 30 ut05-d1-020r Roger's Telephoto of Polly's Island Ruin.
enlarge 89KB, 800x533 31 ut05-d1-021r Extreme closeup - note "porch and steps" at middle window.
enlarge 98KB, 598x800 32 ut05-d1-022a4 View from near the top of the Gov't Trail - Looking down into the Gulch - Polly's Island is to the left. You can see the mouth of Polly's Canyon beyond the ridge at the right.
enlarge 136KB, 800x533 33 ut05-d1-022r Looking down at the river - the riffles show the volume of the flow.
enlarge 53KB, 800x533 34 ut05-d1-023r Shelby and Dan coming down the Gov't trail.
enlarge 184KB, 598x800 35 ut05-d1-024a1 Eric heading down the Gov't Trail.
enlarge 143KB, 800x598 36 ut05-d1-024a2 Allison - at a big switchback in the Gov't Trail.
enlarge 72KB, 800x598 37 ut05-d1-024a3 Allison.
enlarge 140KB, 800x598 38 ut05-d1-024a4 Danny on the Gov't Trail.
enlarge 124KB, 598x800 39 ut05-d1-024a5 Eric looking for a good place to cross the stream just below Polly's Canyon.
enlarge 121KB, 800x598 40 ut05-d1-024a6 Eric
enlarge 179KB, 598x800 41 ut05-d1-024a7 Danny - also looking for a place to cross.
enlarge 98KB, 800x533 42 ut05-d1-024r Down in the Gulch - this slick rock section is very beautiful. See 2000 trip for more pictures.
enlarge 119KB, 800x598 43 ut05-d1-025a1 This section is just below the mouth of Polly's canyon. Polly's Island is to the left.
enlarge 146KB, 568x800 44 ut05-d1-025b Above Polly's Canyon the water flow in the Gulch made travel much more difficult than in a normal year. As this section is almost always dry, you usually hike in the wash so no trails are made through the brush on either side of the wash. You had a difficult choice to make - Wade or fight through very tough brush. Here Roger has waded across and is entering the brush on the far side of the wash.
enlarge 90KB, 800x598 45 Big Man Pictograph Panel - Grand Gulch ut05-d1-026a1 Big Man Panel
enlarge 72KB, 800x533 46 ut05-d1-026r It was a longer slog than I remembered to the trail up to the Big Man Panel. This was Eric's first trip here. See both 2000 and 2002 Grand Gulch trips for more photos of this panel.
enlarge 85KB, 598x800 47 ut05-d1-027a1 Eric
enlarge 80KB, 598x800 48 ut05-d1-027a2 LEBOWSKI: Is it... Is it being prepared to do the right thing? Whatever the price? Isn't that what makes a man?
DUDE: Sure, that and a pair of testicles.
enlarge 71KB, 598x800 49 ut05-d1-027a3 Pensive Eric
enlarge 69KB, 800x598 50 ut05-d1-027a4 Allison at Big Man Panel
enlarge 71KB, 800x598 51 ut05-d1-027a5 Allison
enlarge 85KB, 598x800 52 ut05-d1-027a6 Shelby.
enlarge 137KB, 800x533 53 ut05-d1-027r "Obviously you're not a golfer" - Shelby isn't either.
enlarge 141KB, 800x533 54 ut05-d1-028r Whoops!
enlarge 110KB, 800x598 55 ut05-d1-029a1 Group at the Big Man Panel.
enlarge 114KB, 800x533 56 ut05-d1-029r Looking up canyon from the Big Man Panel.
enlarge 36KB, 800x533 57 ut05-d1-030r A few clouds building up as the day goes on - pretty typical.
enlarge 90KB, 568x800 58 ut05-d1-031b This natural arch is much easier to spot going up canyon. We missed it coming down in 2000.
enlarge 110KB, 568x800 59 ut05-d1-032b A closer view of the arch (just down canyon from Long House.)
enlarge 88KB, 800x568 60 ut05-d1-033b We found a small ruin and pictograph panel. Erosion has taken it's toll on the paintings.
enlarge 117KB, 800x568 61 ut05-d1-034b If you look closely you can see these large yellow figures which have faded over time.
enlarge 123KB, 800x568 62 ut05-d1-035b Ruin - there was another room using the stick and mud construction at the right.
enlarge 134KB, 800x568 63 Long House Ruin Grand Gulch ut05-d1-036b The "Long House" sits up on a sandy bench located at the western end of a huge bend in the Gulch. See 2000 and 2002 trips for more photos. Our slog through the river and brush was slowing us down a great deal so we didn't go up and look at the ruin. Also see F.E. Leeka's 1891 photo in Cowboys & Cave Dwellers.
enlarge 132KB, 800x533 64 ut05-d2-001r Danny & concertina- This was the second day at our camp at the mouth of Dripping Canyon. The camp is located in a grove of cottonwoods at the junction of the Gulch and D.C. In 2002 we camped here but had a long trek to find a pool up Dripping Canyon for water - not this year as there was a stream coming down the gulch.
enlarge 131KB, 800x533 65 ut05-d2-002r Dan at camp at mouth of Dripping Canyon.
enlarge 67KB, 533x800 66 ut05-d2-003r Shelby - goofing off in camp.
enlarge 46KB, 533x800 67 ut05-d2-004r Shelby mainlining Kool Aid.
enlarge 146KB, 533x800 68 ut05-d2-005r Cottonwood where we camped.
enlarge 148KB, 533x800 69 ut05-d2-006r More Cottonwood.
enlarge 154KB, 568x800 70 ut05-d2-007b A view of our camp acrosse the stream flowing down the Gulch - Dripping Canyon is at the right.
enlarge 155KB, 568x800 71 ut05-d2-008b I took out first and was soon passed by Roger.
enlarge 132KB, 568x800 72 ut05-d2-009b What's your choice - wade thru the muck or beat the brush. The stretch from Polly's Island to Step Canyon was pretty rough.
enlarge 106KB, 568x800 73 ut05-d2-010b Almost to Step Canyon - there is a trail over a bench and you get this view.
enlarge 132KB, 598x800 74 ut05-d2-011a1 Just below Step Canyon.
enlarge 153KB, 598x800 75 ut05-d2-011a2 There is still considerable flow in the Gulch below Step Canyon.
enlarge 157KB, 800x598 76 ut05-d2-011a3 Another view.
enlarge 208KB, 800x533 77 ut05-d2-011r Cactus along "trail"
enlarge 126KB, 568x800 78 ut05-d2-012b Two Story Ruin
enlarge 112KB, 568x800 79 ut05-d2-013b Entrance of Two Story Ruin - you can see the mouth of Step Canyon (to right) in the background.
enlarge 115KB, 800x533 80 ut05-d2-014r Spring has yet to come as none of the cottonwoods are budding out yet.
enlarge 109KB, 800x533 81 Two Story Ruin Grand Gulch ut05-d2-015r Note the poles that form the floor of the 2nd story.
enlarge 113KB, 800x533 82 ut05-d2-016r A good look of Two Story Ruin. - note small ruin in foreground.
enlarge 96KB, 800x533 83 ut05-d2-017r Shelby at Two Story Ruin.
enlarge 109KB, 800x533 84 ut05-d2-018r Note large rock cantelivered over cliff at base of structure - This would prevent anyone from going around structure if door was barricaded.
enlarge 108KB, 800x533 85 ut05-d2-019r Roger strikes a pose (See various trips - and Bridger 98 for the Buckwheat original).
enlarge 123KB, 800x533 86 ut05-d2-020r Closeup of ruin.
enlarge 113KB, 533x800 87 ut05-d2-021r Roger's favorite tee shirt.
enlarge 67KB, 800x533 88 ut05-d2-022r Thumbs Up!
enlarge 137KB, 568x800 89 ut05-d2-023b Back of Two Story Ruin - note very large rock used as the base of the structure and how it two cantilevers over the cliff. It must have been quite a task to move and place this boulder.
enlarge 136KB, 800x533 90 ut05-d2-024r Two Thumbs Up!!
enlarge 148KB, 800x533 91 ut05-d2-025r Interior of Two story Ruin showing smoke blackened walls and timbered ceiling/floor.
enlarge 155KB, 800x533 124 ut05-d2-060r Eric and Allison coming up the gulch from Step Canyon to Two Story Ruin. Note convenient cottonwood log to cross the stream.
enlarge 156KB, 800x533 125 ut05-d2-061r Allison & Eric crossing wash - these crossing were difficult because of the steepness of the bank and the depth of the water. Long Legged Danny could jump across with ease - I usually ended up with both feet in the water and my knees covered in mud!
enlarge 135KB, 800x533 126 ut05-d2-062r Almost to Two Story Ruin -wide angle view of stream crossing.
enlarge 160KB, 800x533 127 ut05-d2-063r Eric and Allison- you can see how the canyon has become clogged with the alien Tamarisk plant - the scourge of the southwest - which has forced out many native plants.
enlarge 143KB, 598x800 128 Two Story Ruin Grand Gulch ut05-d2-064a1 View of Two Story Ruin
enlarge 107KB, 800x598 129 ut05-d2-0064a2 Shelby and Roger at Two Story Ruin.
enlarge 132KB, 800x533 130 ut05-d2-064r More Tamarisks among the sage bushes.
enlarge 108KB, 800x533 131 ut05-d2-065r Good example of the brush in the canyon.
enlarge 104KB, 800x568 132 Totem Pole Hoodoo Grand Gulch ut05-d2-066b The Totem Pole - a prominent hoodoo between Step Canyon and the Bullet Canyon/GG
enlarge 115KB, 800x568 133 ut05-d2-067b This small ruin is near the mouth of Green House Canyon.
enlarge 137KB, 598x800 134 ut05-d2-068a1 Eric - This is between Green House Canyon and Bullet Canyon where the trail crosses a wide bench.
enlarge 165KB, 800x598 135 ut05-d2-068a2 Eric along Trail.