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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2019 Trips > 2016 Grand Gulch Utah > 
2016 Grand Gulch Day 5
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Grand Gulch 2016
Day 5 - May 12

Polly's Canyon to Goverment Trailhead

Climbing Out of Grand Gulch via the Government Trail

Our last day on the trail was only about 3 miles from Polly's Canyon to the Government Trailhead, but it included a 500 foot climb up to the rim. The Government Trail starts a short ways down canyon from our camp. As it climbs out or the canyon, the views become ever more spectacular.

After you reach the rim, the trail crosses the mesa leaving all visual evidence that Grand Gulch even exists. With far away views of the Bear's Ears and other tall mesas, we finally reach the stockpond that marks the trailhead. We all piled into Shelby's truck and made our way back to the Kane Gulch Ranger station where we said our goodbyes to Fred and Cindy.

Heading north, we stopped in Blanding for lunch and after dropping Mike and Madison off in Salt Lake, Shelby and I continued on to Mountain Home, Idaho where we found a motel for the night.

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 12. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 95 of 95 Total. 0 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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Last morning - Water is on to boil for hot chocolate and oatmeal. The sun is showing on the canyon rim.


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Leaving camp - looking down the Gulch

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Cindy and Fred - due to the big pool at the mouth of the canyon we had to scramble under the cottonwoods of the camp to cross the stream to avoid wading the pool.

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Bill - ready to head out

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Bill

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Leaving Polly's Canyon and hiking down the slickrock towards the Gov't Trail.


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Leaving Polly's Canyon camp

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Desert primrose

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Fred & Bill

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Flotsam from summer floods

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We started up this trail, but I soon realized that it wasn't the right one. Shelby kept going and made his way cross country. The Government Trail was much further down the canyon.

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Heading up the false trail

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We're finally on the right trail.

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Gaining elevation quickly, the views get better as well.

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Mike and Madison climbing up the trail.

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Cindy and Fred

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A Kodak moment

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Climbing the Gov't Trail - I'm huffing and puffing away as it is a steep trail (Even Mike is huffing a little).  This video gives a good sense of what this trail is like.


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View of Polly's Island across the way.  Polly's Island was formed as the water used to flow around it but then cut the current channel that we came down today, leaving the isolated block known as Polly's Island.

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Ruin just under the rim of Polly's Island.

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Another view.

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Bill getting a photo of Polly's Island.

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Bill, Cindy, and Fred climbing up the trail

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Looking back up canyon - Our camp was in the cottonwoods in the sunlight at the center of the photo.  You can see the slickrock section with the water pools.

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Closeup of the ruin on Polly's Island

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Cindy and Fred have passed me by.

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Fred getting his breath

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Madison up ahead - soon we'll be in shadow again.

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View looking back up canyon - we've come quite a way so far.

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Madison on the trail

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Bill making his way slowly up the climb.

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Taking a break on a big ledge - meeting up with Shelby after his cross country climb.

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view along the canyon wall

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Almost to the same level as the ruin across the way

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Telephoto view up canyon to bend above Polly's canyon

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Taking a break at big ledge before forging ahead.


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Mike & Madison

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Shelby & Cindy

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Selfie of the Old Man

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Hiking along the trail from the big ledge to just below the rim


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Yellow evening primrose along the trail

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Don't know what these white flowers are - look like Phlox but have 4 petals instead of 5.

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Looking across to Polly's Island

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Getting up to the rim

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Here comes Bill

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Shelby & Mike

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Last part of the climb to the rim


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Another bench eroding away

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unusual rock formation near the rim

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The last steps before the rim

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Looking down canyon

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Two thumbs up -we made it

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Fred makes it to the rim

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Panoramic view of Polly's Island

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Bill makes it to the rim

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Shelby & Cindy

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Mike & Madison

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Video showing Madison trying to get cell reception (everyone else had it); Bill arriving at the rim; Last look into the canyon before heading to the trailhead.


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Ready for the last lap

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Bill

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Bill at the rim

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No Reception!!!

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Mike at the rim

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Mike got this shot as we left the rim.

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Telephoto - note Polly's Island ruin to right of Bill.

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On the Gov't trail - note how quickly the canyons disappear.

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Madison & Shelby -The Windgate and Mossback Buttes in the background.

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To the north are the Bear's Ears

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Telephoto of the Bear's Ears - we drove through them in 2012 for our backpack in Dark Canyon.

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Moss Back Butte

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Red House Cliffs

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Shelby passes some cryptobiotic soil on top of the mesa. Since these organisms are damaged easily, you avoid walking on them if at all possible.

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Yucca plant about to bloom

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Close up of yucca blooms

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Up ahead are Madison, Cindy, and Shelby

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Telephoto view

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Another view

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Pink Prickley Pear Cactus flower

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Another view

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Panorama view from Gov't trail (enlarge to original size)

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Goodbye to the last primrose on the hike.

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Cindy at the stock pond at the trailhead.

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Cindy at the end of a long hike.

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Madison points to the Gov't Trailhead on the map

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Our route as shown on the trailhead map (enlarge to show our camps and the route)

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Flowers at the end of the trail

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End of the trail - Shelby's truck.

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Trail sign - 3 miles to the gulch.

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Start (or end in our case) of the Gov't trail

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Getting the gear into the truck for the trip back to Kane R.S.

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Back at the Ranger Station I do a little bandaging on my blister (it was a big one) that had been slowing me down for the last 3 days.

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Not fun

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We said our goodbyes to Fred & Cindy at the Ranger Station as they were heading south via the Moki Dugway.
Here we pass through the notch in Comb Ridge and leave Cedar Mesa country behind.  We had a great lunch in Blanding at the Homestead Steakhouse. Heading north we dropped Mike and Madison off in Salt Lake. Shelby and I made it to Mountain Home, Idaho for the night. Then on to Washington the next day.


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CLICK HERE for Previous Album (Day 4)
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