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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2019 Trips > 2016 Grand Gulch Utah > 
2016 Grand Gulch Day 1
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Grand Gulch 2016
Day 1 - May 8

Kane Gulch to Todie Canyon

Taking a Break in Kane Gulch

It's hard to get an early start for a hike in Grand Gulch, as you have to pick up your permit at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station, which opens at 8:00 AM and closes at noon. In addition you have to watch an instructional video about Grand Gulch before venturing out.

After watching the video, Fred, Cindy, and Shelby took off on the required car shuttle so that we would have a vehicle when we exited the canyon at the Government Trailhead. In the meantime, Mike, Madison, and I got the gear sorted out into piles and got our packs ready to go.

When Shelby and the rest returned, we got all the gear packed and we headed out. Day one is very scenic and interesting. You start out on the mesa top and gradually drop into Kane Gulch. After reaching the junction with the main canyon, there seems to be ruins at every turn.

We made our camp at the mouth of Todie Canyon, which is about 7.2 miles from the ranger station. I did a couple of miles more as I headed back up Kane Gulch by mistake instead of heading down canyon. All in all it was a good day.

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 8, 2016. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 175 of 175 Total. 0 Visits.
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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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After packing up our camp on Todie Flats, we drove over to the Kane Gulch Ranger station, arriving about 7:45.  Fred and Cindy were already there, even though they had a longer drive. We got our permit and watched the compulsory 15 minute film.

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Since we had to do a car shuttle, Fred and Cindy followed Shelby out to the Government Trail trailhead where we would be coming out, while Mike, Bill, and Madison remained at the ranger station and got the troop gear and food organized.

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This is the road out to the Gov't Trail.

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You can see Shelby's truck up ahead.

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When dry, this road is not bad.  In 2005, there had been an accumulation of snow that had melted, making the road impassable. I tried getting my Corolla down the road and got stuck in the mud about 200' from the paved road. And had to be ignominiously pushed back to the pavement.

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In 2005, Shelby was driving a big finned 1960's era Cadillac, which Shelby despite the muddy condition and its 2WD managed to get it up and down the road twice to the trailhead.  It was the most harrowing ride I have ever experienced.

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Shelby's Truck.

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Leaving the truck at the trailhead.

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There is a shallow stockpond at the trailhead, which seems a little out of place in this desert like setting.

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At the Government Trailhead.  You can see the box at the right in which you deposit your fee for a daily permit.

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Meanwhile back at the ranger station, we take in the various exhibits.  When we first came to Grand Gulch in 2000 an old trailer served as the ranger station and instead of the mandatory film, the ranger would give you a short talk.

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This display is outside the station.

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Fred and Shelby getting Fred's pack ready.

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Getting the lawn chair adjusted in its proper position.

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Getting Fred's pack ready to travel.

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It was a cold morning and pretty breezy.  The chalkboard at the RS indicated that the overnight temperature had been in the 20's.

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Bill is ready to go and Shelby is executing the "Lost Ranger Flippy" See HERE

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Lost Ranger Flippy success!

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Mike, Madison, and Shelby ready to go.

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Fred, Cindy, Shelby, Madison, and Mike.

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Cindy, Fred, Shelby, Madison, and Bill ready to start from the Kane Ranger Station.  The trail starts right across the road from the ranger station.
Click Here for Map

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Cindy & Fred

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Following the trail from the ranger station, we enter the wash and follow it through a few twists and turns. Here the trail skirts the northern edge of the canyon.

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The trail enters a notch where a large block has fallen away from the canyon wall

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Fred in the notch which is located HERE

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Exit end of the notch.

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Kane Gulch is not very deep at the beginning of the hike.

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Fred in the shadow of the canyon wall.

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The wash winds its way through some large boulders.

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There was quite a lot of water in the upper reaches of the canyon. Note the large evergreen as it serves as a landmark for the next few pictures.

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The stream carving its way down through the sandstone.

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Just downstream of the previous photo. The cone shaped evergreen is located HERE

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A little bit downstream is this small pouroff. You can find it HERE

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Fred making his way around a pool.

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Shelby and Bill - the pouroff is just around the corner behind them.

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The Old Man is on the Trail again.

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Mike and Madison rounding the bend.

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Mike and Madison

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Taking a break about 45 minutes from the ranger station.

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Break time.

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Making our way down canyon.

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Fred pausing in the shade - this is the same tree as in the previous photo.

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Working our way down the wash.

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You can see the "trail" leave the wash at the left side of the photo, just to the right of the large boulders - I think that this spot is HERE

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Avoiding the large boulders in the wash, the trail stays high - you can see Fred making his way along the route to the right of the photo.

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Madison making her way back down to the wash.

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Madison - not cairns pointing out the way.

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Mike & Madison.

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Madison going around the switchback to head back down canyon - note the rectangular stone block to the left.

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If you enlarge the photo, through the branches, you can see Fred making his way down the slope (note the rectangular stone noted in the previous photo)

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Fred picking his way down.

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Mike, Shelby, and Madison picking their way down the wash. Note the Large boulders on the cliff above Mike, which are clearly seen at the map location

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Madison hopping across the creek.

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A little further down.

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Mike & Madison are now just opposite the large Boulders at the cliff top shown on the map link a few photos ago.

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Interesting boulder formation.

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Stopping for a moment at the wilderness study sign.

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Shelby, Mike, & Fred.

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The trail stays high through this section to avoid a large Pouroff located HERE. Note the prominent rock feature on the opposite side of the canyon that looks like a WWII flat top jutting from the canyon rim.

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Madison making her way over slickrock down to the wash.

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Madison and Fred - back down in the wash.

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Interesting Boulder along the way - Note the "Flat top" on the canyon rim.

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Fred and Mike go around the boulder.

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Could THIS be the boulder?

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A little further down - you can see Madison's pack on the left edge of the photo as she goes around the boulder to avoid wet feet.

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Looking back at the "Flat top".

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The trail then stays high on the north side of the canyon to avoid an impassable boulder jam in the wash. The canyon walls of Kane Gulch are now about 500' above the bottom and are quite impressive.

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The trail stays high and eventually finds it's way back to this pouroff, where we take a long break.

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The bends in the canyon up to now have been fairly minor. Although we are not far from the junction of Kane with the main Grand Gulch, the canyon's twists and turns greatly increase the distance we'll have to travel.

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Looking across the canyon.

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The location of the pouroff where we took our break is HERE as shown on Google Maps.  If you look at the map location you can see there is a trail going up canyon, but this is a false trail and you will end up in the impassible boulder jam.

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Shelby & Madison enjoying the break.  Note the CAIRN to the left of the photo.  This shows where you go to go up canyon. After coming up the canyon on the south side, you go around the pouroff and head down canyon again for a short way and go between the cairn and the bank in the background to regain the trail.

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Leaving the pouroff on the south side of the canyon, we go round a bend heading south and then another coming to this straight stretch seeing the next bend ahead.

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Mike bushwhacking through brush.

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Going around the bend made by this promontory on the south side of the canyon. HERE

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Lower Kane Gulch is very pleasant, with evergreens and cottonwoods.

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Continuing on towards the junction.

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The hoodoos ahead mark the Junction with the main canyon.

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The canyon rim is far above us.

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The last bend before the junction.

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Some Utah Sweet Pea flowers(??).

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In the main Grand Gulch at the junction with Kane Gulch.

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Peekaboo view of the upper level Junction Ruins.

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Upper Level Junction Ruins.

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Upper Level Junction Ruins.

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Upper Level Junction Ruins - you can see they are located up a serious cliff.

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View of Upper Level Junction Ruins - ruin with vertical posts.

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Looking back towards Kane Gulch.

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Taking a break at the Junction - we stayed at this camp in 2005. I was the last one to leave and I took off down a "trail" on the opposite side of this camp.  After hiking around several bends in the canyon, I saw some running water that was going the wrong way. I suddenly realized that I had inadvertently gone quite a ways back up Kane Gulch.

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We were supposed to meet at the Turkey Pen Ruin, but mistakenly thought that this alcove was it.

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Madison in alcove.

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Desert colors

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Heading down Grand Gulch.

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Upper Turkey Pen Ruins - if you see this view, you've gone too far and have missed the turn off to see the ruins (if you are going down canyon).

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Close up of one of the Upper Turkey Pen Ruins - this one is unusual because of the many logs supporting the roof.

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Narrows opposite the Turkey Pen Alcove.

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Stimper Arch through canyon wall - not visible from the other side.

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View of the Stimper Arch from the wash. The arch is located HERE

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Stimper Arch - About 5 miles from the Kane Ranger Station.

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Cindy - wash near the Stimper Arch.

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Pool in the wash by large Rock located HERE.

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Looking for a break spot, wondering where Bill got to.

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Cottonwoods and Canyon walls - what a day!

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A lot of bends in this stretch of the Gulch.

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This is a group of ruins at the base of an alcove, with a lot of pictographs on the alcove wall, including the famed "Antelope on a Bike".

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Large ruin - Since my last trip through here in 2005, they have added a lot of fencing (not a physical barrier) to keep you out of the area near the ruins.  In 2005 you could go up to most of the pictographs.

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The large roof of this ruin appears to have collapsed - I wonder if it was a kiva.

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Another view - not the different constructions of the wall in the ruin behind.

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view of the construction on the right side of the ruin in the previous photo - mud applied over the rock wall.

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Completely different type of construction on the left side of the ruin.

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Pictographs on the wall adjacent to the ruin.

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Another view - enlarge to original size to view details.

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Distinctive antelope on wheels.

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Telephoto - note abstract figures to the left.

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Combination petraglyph and pictograph figures.

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Moving down you can see the "chain" fencing keeping you away from the ruins.

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These ruins are in bad shape.

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Roof has collapsed here.

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view of the roof and wall construction.

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You can see the builders took a shortcut here by using large flat blocks to form the base of the wall (one has toppled over).

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Handprints - looks like erosion has taken its toll on some of them.

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Faded Petroglyph

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view of faded Petroglyph

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This ruin is high on a ledge above the other ruins in the alcove.

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view of upper ruin

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Another view - in 2002, Shelby and Braxton made it up to this ruin.

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Taking a break near the ruin alcove.

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Bill had not shown up so Shelby went back to see what had happened.

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Madison getting lunch ready - Summer sausage & cheese on rolls.

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2016-05-08 13-43-42 - madison IMG 6432
You're not you when you're hungry

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2016-05-08 13-43-45 cindy IMG 9072
"The Thinker"

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2016-05-08 13-43-48 - cindy IMG 9073
   Charming spot.  Let's go.
   We can't.
   Why not?
   We're waiting for Godot.

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2016-05-08 13-43-56 - madison IMG 6438

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2016-05-08 13-44-00 - madison IMG 6439

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2016-05-08 14-28-12 - mike DSCF4288
On the trail again after a long break due to my wild goose chase back up Kane Gulch.

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2016-05-08 14-42-38 - cindy IMG 9075
Distinctive hoodoo at head of side canyon.

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Another view of hoodoo - location is HERE

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Cindy & Fred

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2016-05-08 14-46-56 - mike DSCF4291
This section of the Gulch is fairly easy going. (Note wall opposite is location of isolated hoodoo shown on previous photos.

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2016-05-08 14-58-04 - cindy IMG 9076
Up ahead is a pair of hoodoos - Gulch is now in shadow for the most part.

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2016-05-08 14-58-16 - cindy IMG 9077
view of hoodoo twins.

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2016-05-08 14-58-24 - mike DSCF4292
Telephoto view of hoodoo twins, which are located HERE On the other side of the Canyon wall opposite these hoodoos is Todie Canyon, which is our destination for today, so we are getting close.

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2016-05-08 14-58-40 - mike DSCF4294
Cindy taking a photo of the twin hoodoos.

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Mike taking a photo of Cindy taking a photo of the twin hoodoos.

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Looking down canyon from about same spot that the photo of the side canyon hoodoo was taken.  Looks like I'm about 30 min behind the rest of the group - it's been a long day.

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2016-05-08 15-15-20 - bill DSC01347
Looking back up canyon from the spot of the previous photo.  The side canyon hoodoo is off the left side of the photo.

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2016-05-08 15-40-40 - cindy IMG 9079
I think everyone was tired when we made it to camp (me considerably behind the others).  It had been a long day.  Here Fred is setting up his new tent in our campsite at the mouth of Todie Canyon.

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2016-05-08 15-49-12 - cindy IMG 9080
Mike and Madison's tent.

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2016-05-08 16-13-04 - cindy IMG 9081
The cottonwoods provide a good place to hang your gear.

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2016-05-08 16-16-14 - mike DSCF4301
There was clear running water coming down from Todie Canyon. A welcome sound not usually found in the desert.

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Madison, Fred, and Shelby getting water for our camp.

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You can see from the coats that it has gotten colder since the sun went down behind the canyon wall.

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One of our easier water collections of the trip.

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We use our coffee pot to fill two 5 gallon Reliance collapsible jugs.

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2016 ut gp may 8 002a.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.
Mike introduces our group as Shelby and Cindy prepare supper.

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2016-05-08 16-41-42 - mike DSCF4306
Both MSR Dragonflies are going strong.

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2016-05-08 16-42-06 - mike DSCF4308
Bill getting his gear sorted out.

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2016-05-08 17-02-04 - mike DSCF4309
Mike went exploring up Todie and got this shot of our camp.

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Our camp way below from the south side of Todie Canyon.

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2016-05-08 17-06-44 - mike DSCF4311
Looking up Todie, a boulder is precariously perched.

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2016-05-08 17-15-04 - cindy IMG 9083
Shelby having some spiced tea.

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2016-05-08 17-15-16 - cindy IMG 9084
Bill and Fred - Shelby's yellow tent and Bill's green one. Shelby's is a 2004 Sierra Designs Light Year (Pack wt 95oz) and was the lightest one man tent available at the time. Mine is a Six Moon Design Skyscape Trekker (Pack wt 30oz), showing the technology gain over the years. Having used a Light Year for many years, I was amazed at the extra room in my new Trekker.

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2016-05-08 17-45-30 - cindy IMG 9085
Shelby, Mike, and Madison - "Campfire" time.

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2016-05-08 18-20-32 - cindy IMG 9087
All in all a great camp. This area was not so appealing in 2005 as there had been a fire caused by a hiker burning his toilet paper. 2005 photo of this area is shown HERE.

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2016-05-08 18-32-26 - cindy IMG 9088
You can see that the food has been hung to keep critters out.

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