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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2019 Trips > 2016 Grand Gulch Utah > 
2016 Grand Gulch Day 3
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Grand Gulch 2016
Day 3 - May 10

Sheiks Canyon to Step Canyon

Climbing out of the Wash

The day began with a extensive exploration of the pictographs at the Green Mask Panel. This panel is remarkable in that it features many different styles of art located in close proximity. The Green Mask itself is a little underwhelming, when you finally find it but then you wonder how someone could have gotten up there to paint it.

After the reasonably easy hiking of the previous day, things change as you get close to the junction with Bullet Canyon. Lush vegetation obscures the vague trails, and the banks of the wash get steeper and deeper. This makes the many times you have to get in and out of the wash very tiring, especially for an overweight 72 year old. I wasn't the only one either, as no one wanted to climb up to the Two Story ruin.

We camped at the mouth of Step Canyon. Unlike our two previous camps, the water situation was pretty grim and took much exploring to find a good pool. Offsetting that, was the fabulous Quail Panel. Even though we only covered 5.5 miles for the day, almost 2 miles less than the previous days, we all agreed that it was the hardest day of the trip.

Note photo takers are given in the titles under the thumbnails.

Kickass Trekkers on this trip were: Bill Mooseker, Shelby Stong, Mike Stong, Madison Stong, Fred Stong, and Cindy Stong.

The descriptions under the photo thumbnails in the album sometimes contain links to maps or additional information. These are identified by "Blue” text for links. I've also inserted links to Google Maps to show where certain photos in the album were taken or to locate features shown in the photos. Click on the link, close the sidebar, and choose satellite view. Basically, you can then zoom in and out using the mouse wheel or drag the map by clicking and holding.

For panoramic photos, I would recommend clicking on the thumbnail photo to enlarge. View at original size for most detail. The thumbnails do not do justice to petroglyphs and pictographs, so I would recommend enlarging them as well. Please take the time to view the many videos to better experience what it was like to be there.

Troop 24 Kickass Trekkers Backpacking Trip
-Cascade Bill Mooseker

Date(s): May 10. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 133 of 133 Total. 216 Visits.
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To get the plugin just Google "videolan" or CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD for Windows. There is a MAC version as well. Disable the Quicktime plugin if you use Videolan.

If you want to save photos to your computer, click the box under the thumbnails of the photos you want to download. Then click the "Download" button at the top of the album. Pick the size you'd like to download (Original is best)and the photos will be downloaded to a folder of your choice.

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Morning sun on Sheiks Canyon.

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Morning of our third day on the trail - Shelby making piles of "troop gear".

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Shelby & Fred - distributing the cold cereal for the morning's breakfast.

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My Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker tent.

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One of the great things about this tent is that you can enter the tent from either side.

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Hiking down to the Green Mask Spring.

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More primroses.

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Madison showing Mike where the Green Mask is located.

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Mike and Madison climb up to the alcove where the Green Mask pictographs are located.

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View of the Green Mask alcove. Note the ruins on the ledge to the left.  If you enlarge the photo to original size you can see several large red pictographs which you can not see when you are up close. You can also see quite clearly the soot covered wall with the mud spirals shown later. To the left of these is the "Breech Birth" panel.

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An interesting ruin - a door to an underground room.  Note notice to not enter interior areas.

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Madison at the down canyon end of the "Breech Birth" Panel.

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More of the Breech Birth panel.

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Ruins above the B.B panel.

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Headless women?

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Handprints and smaller figure.

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Upper end of the B.B. panel.

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Pictograph supposedly representing a Breech Birth.

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More handprints

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Bill exploring the alcove.

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Unusual ruin with mud spiral circles applied to soot blackened wall. Why was the wall blackened? I don't think it was by fire as the adjacent rock wall does not have any black.

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Another view from the opposite direction

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View of the mud spirals

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Looking up Sheiks Canyon from the alcove.

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Another ruin

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Another view.

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Other end of the ruin.

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green mask alcove - Cindy
High on the walls above the alcove are many very old multi-color pictographs that are much different in style than the anthropomorphic ones below them.  Made up of lines and symbols, it is impossible to determine what is their meaning.

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This photograph from the previous night shows the upper pictograph panel as well as the large rockfall below.

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The down canyon end of the upper pictograph panel. As we were early in the day we did not have the best light to photograph these. The following panoramic photos of this panel taken by the Wilderness Vagabond are more complete than the ones we were able to get.

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Due to the large rockfall below, it is speculated that there once was a ledge above that would make these accessible.  Even so, it must have been difficult to get up there without elaborate ladders and scaffolding.

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Close up

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Note the white lines in addition to the darker ones.

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Farther along the wall - starting to see some "fence" like symbols.

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More "fences"

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To the right of the previous photo.

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Some weird shapes here.

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The up-canyon end of the panel.

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Another view of the panel.

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You can see that the art was applied before the rockfall as several of the "tails" extend to the break in the wall.

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The Green Mask is hard to see. Can you find it in this photo - it is very high on the wall.

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Zooming in a little.

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The Green Mask - Thought to be a representation of a mask made from a face and scalp as described HERE.

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Located on the rock wall below the upper pictograph panel are more recent pictographs.  This photo shows the location of several faded white pictographs that are known as the "White Turkey" panel.  If you enlarge this photo you will be able to make out these faint pictographs.

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These are the "Figures" shown on the overall alcove view.  Obviously, the figure on the left is male.

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The "Figures" of the previous photo and the "Turkey" called out previously.  There is also another figure to the right of the turkey, also with a prominent headdress.  I wonder what the large number of short vertical lines stand for.

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Contrast added to the previous photo.

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Panel continues to the right with two more faint figures and a red wavy line.

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To the right of the red wavy line is another white turkey, a faint white handprint, and red accents that appear to have been made with three finger tips. (Enlarge for better view).

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This is just to the right of the previous photo, showing a large "Corn" symbol.  Also a number of red accents are present, one of which may be a handprint.

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Mike & Madison climbing over the rocks to get photos of the pictographs.

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Madison pointing to a pair of faint stylized figures similar to those of the White Turkey panel.

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Close up of previous figure.

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Contrast added to figure from the previous photo.

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More figures to the right of the previous photo.

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Close up of the figures.

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Pair of Handprints

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Close up of handprints

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Bill, Shelby, and Fred at base of alcove.

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Flowers opposite alcove

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Saying goodbye to the Green Mask Alcove.

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Slickrock in main canyon below Sheiks canyon before the next bend.

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Heading down the slickrock.  In 2002 there was a big pool here in which Danny enjoyed a dip - CLICK HERE.

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A cluster of sweet pea flowers along the way.

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Hoodoos around the first big bend.

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Ruins on a high ledge - This is the Wall Ruin.  This is the high ruins, there is a much bigger complex below this.  We climbed up here in 2002. See HERE, HERE, and HERE.

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From just above Bullet Canyon, begins the Death March. I don't know how many times we had to climb down and then climb up out of the wash as shown here.

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Through the "jungle"

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Sometimes there is no trail and you have to improvise, as Fred is doing here climbing under some tamarisks.

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Video shows typical hiking through this stretch of the gulch.

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Shelby Bushwhacking a way thru the brush to build a bridge! (not easy hiking!)

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Below Bullet Canyon, the main gulch has quite a few sharp twists and turns.

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Fred humping over one of the bends in the canyon.

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This hoodoo at the inner side of one of the many bends in the canyon.

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Continuing high over the inside of the bend we get a respite from the jungle and rough going in the wash.

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Heading down off the bench - I remember this spot from our 2000 trip which is located HERE.

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An old cottonwood snag.

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Following the twists and turns of the canyon.

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More globemallow to brighten the way.

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The trail takes us up and over this distinctive bench.  If you enlarge the photo you can see a ruin in the alcove ahead.  When we crossed this bench in 2000, we met a native American woman dressed in traditional garb who was making the trek. The bench is located HERE.

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View of the gully seen in the previous photo. Because of the erosion, there were a few sketchy parts of the trail thru here. Based on the time stamps, it looks like I was about 20 minutes behind the main group at this time.

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Shelby - around the bend is the mouth of Green House Canyon

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Taking our lunch break at the mouth of Green Mask Canyon.

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Fred and Shelby at our lunch break - one of the reasons that I was so behind was that I was overtaken by a group of (I'm assuming based on their demeanor) four older professors (about my age or a little youner) from back east. Unfortunately, they got off the trail and headed up a drainage gully and I followed along. When it became apparent that it wasn't the correct way (it kept climbing), I turned around but they persisted.

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Getting ready to move our from our break.  By the way the "professors" arrived during our break.  They were taking it easy and were stopping here to camp (having come from the mouth of Bullet). Maybe they were the smart ones. In 2000 we did a day trip up the canyon to see the Green House.

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Another damn wash crossing!

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Fred gets a push from Shelby to get up and over - these crossings were very difficult for me as I usually didn't have anyone to give me a push!

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A prominent landmark between Green House Canyon and Step Canyon is the Totem Pole seen here.

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The Totem Pole - located HERE.

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Two Story Ruin - everyone was so worn out that no one climbed up to see it.  I was way behind again - I had developed a huge blister. Since this was my fourth trip through this stretch, I didn't feel too bad about not climbing up to the ruin.

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Another view - this is a fantastic ruin with great pictographs.

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Cindy got this photo near the mouth of Step Canyon (this view is looking at the east side of Step. Two Story Ruin is a short ways up the canyon to the right.  If you enlarge this photo to original size, you can see some granaries along the ledge.  There is also a very interesting ruin with two poles at the upper ledge below the rim.

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View of the granaries and the upper ruin.

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View of the upper ruin - this ruin is opposite the Quail Panel and I wonder if it was used for ceremonial purposes as it appears to be fairly inaccessible.

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Cindy - waiting for Bill to show up. Shelby went back to find me.

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Madison and Mike's pack.

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Time for a nap.

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Stopping for a moment at Two Story Ruin and then on to our camp in the cottonwoods at Step Canyon.

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Fred - it's been a loooong day!

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Bill (collapsed) - I don't think I moved for an hour or so.

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In camp at Step Canyon.

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Sometimes a picture says a thousand words!

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Cottonwood pollen covers the ground at our camp.

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The hunt for water at Step Canyon - Part 1
Our most difficult night as far as water was concerned.

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The hunt for water continues - Part 2

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Panoramic view looking down towards the mouth of Step Canyon from the ledge containing the Quail Panel.

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Exploring the ledge on which the Quail Panel is located.

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Finding the pictographs along the Quail Panel.

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The Quail Panel, including the "Running Man". This is one of the more colorful panels to be found - red, green, and yellow pigments.

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Madison comparing her hand size with these old handprints.

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Close up of the Running Man.  Note the figures with birds on their heads.

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Figures to the left of the "Quail"

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Another view.

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Showing the antelope.

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Close up of the antelope and the quail.

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More figures and handprints

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Close up of the figures in the previous photo.  Note the faint white handprint and the belt on the figure to the right.

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Another figure with a fancy headdress

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Close up of the figure in the previous photo

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My favorite pictograph is this mask - kind of all by itself near the end of the panel.

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A fearsome visage

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I wonder if this represents a mask similar to the Green Mask or if it signifies some deity.

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More figures and a corn symbol.

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Another figure

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Continuing up the ledge in Step Canyon.

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Heading back to camp

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The light is fading.

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Looking back along the ledge

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