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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2019 Trips > 2017 Grand Gulch, UT > 
2017 Grand Gulch - Day 5
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Grand Gulch 2017
Day 5 - May 26

The Narrows to Collins Spring Trailhead

Collins Canyon
Cowboy Camp
Salvation Knoll

Nick M. Carrying the Old Man's Pack Up The Last Leg
Of Collins Canyon

On our last day, we broke camp very early and headed back up the Gulch a short ways to begin our climb out via Collins Canyon. The hike up Collins is very pleasant and scenic. Even though I was the first one out of camp the Nicks and the Stongs soon overtook me and left me in the dust. It didn't help that I made the wrong turn not once but twice as I mistakenly headed up a side canyon and then missed the trail around a pouroff.

Along with the scenery, the trip is memorable for an old (early 20th century) Cowboy camp above a massive pouroff that provides an interesting glimpse of the modern history of the canyon. The pouroff is skirted by a constructed cattle trail and signals that we are not far from the trailhead. At the top of the pouroff, the canyon walls no longer tower over you and you realize that your hike will soon be over.

It's a relief to change clothes and wash up at the trailhead. I even had a fairly cold diet coke in the cooler. After packing up all the gear we headed out for our long trip home. Our last scenic stop was to climb the "Salvation Knoll" which played a significant role in the historic Hole in the Rock pioneer expedition. Then it was on to Blanding, for our first non freeze dried food in 5 days.

Note photo takers are given in the titles under the thumbnails: Bill (bm), Mike (ms), Nick M. (nm), Nick T. (nt)

Kickass Trekkers on this trip were: Bill Mooseker, Will Stong, Mike Stong, Nick McMahan, Nick Tuggle

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 26, 2017. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 69 of 69 Total. 9 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. To view fullscreen videos click the icon on the top right of the video when it starts playing.

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We were up early before the sun hit our campsite.  You can hear the Dragonfly stove as  water is heating for our oatmeal and cocoa.  The Nicks did not bother setting up their tent as you can see.


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Breaking down camp for our hike out to the car.  Nick M is pumping water - our good Pur Scout filter had clogged up so Nick is using the Pur/Katadyn Hiker backup filter.


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Breaking camp

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Packs on - Sun is hitting the canyon rim above us.

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A farewell look at the Narrow as we head out.

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Heading up Collins Canyon - the guys had passed me by and were going full speed.

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Looking back down canyon: Pretty section of slickrock in lower Collins Canyon.

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Looking up canyon from previous spot - just before I went off track.  Collins Canyon goes off to the left, but I went up the side canyon shown here to the right, missing a big cairn showing the right way.

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Looking up the side canyon - this pool drew me in.  I made it up to the base of the headland at center and was going to keep going, when I saw a tent that was occupied by a couple we had seen the previous day.  The woman from Telluride told me that I was going the wrong way. I'm glad that she did as I would have continued on.

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Looking back down the side canyon to Collins Canyon proper.

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Yucca buds

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Yucca about ready to bloom

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About to go on my second wild goose chase of the day, I missed the trail that takes you around a big impassible pouroff which is just ahead.

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After I hit the pouroff, I backtracked and found the bypass trail.  This photo looks down into the pool below the pouroff.  I was kicking myself as I had been up this canyon twice before and down it once as well.
(the pouroff is located HERE)


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Meanwhile, the guys have reached the historic "Cowboy" camp shown in this panoramic photo.
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Another panoramic view

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Collection of leftover cowboy trash.

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Another view.

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Close up.

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Rock with cowboy signatures.

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Cowboy signatures

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More trash.

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Leftover items from the cowboy camp.

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leftover can - note Sunspun name was trademarked in 1950.

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Schilling Coffee was produced until 1947 when the company was bought out by McCormick spices.

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Cowboy seat

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Utensils and bones strung up on rack.

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Cowboy larder dug into ground.

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Inside view of larder showing a can of Columbine evaporated milk which was produced in the 1940's and 1950's.

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Other side of larder showing a SEGO evaporated milk carton which was produced until the plant closed in 1957.

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Cow femur?

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Looking back down canyon.

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Looking up canyon.

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Flower along the way quite possibly or closely related to the Sonoran Beardtongue (aptly named).

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Very nice hiking - I think that this was taken looking up canyon from HERE.

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Vertical canyon walls

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Nick M came back to carry my pack the rest of the way.  This is the start of the constructed cattle trail that goes around the huge pouroff near the end of Collins Canyon.

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Looking down canyon from start of cattle trail located HERE

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Heading up the trail - the pouroff is to the right. If you enlarge the photo to original size you can see Nick M sprinting ahead with my pack.

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The pouroff below

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Bill at the cowboy camp.

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Almost to the top - this gate prevents cattle on free range atop the mesa from going down into the Gulch as they did in the past.

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Panoramic view of Collins Canyon from the canyon rim
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Bill tells about his wild goose chase up the wrong canyon.


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Packing up for our return to the NW.  Mike looks at the map and points out the route of our hike, and a last look at Collins Canyon.


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Getting the gear ready to go back into the Subaru.

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What are the odds that the only two cars at the trailhead are both red Subarus.

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Separating out the troop gear from the personal gear.

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Collins Canyon - you can see the trail in the foreground.

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Trailhead map and registration box.

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Mike pointing to the Gov't Trailhead where we entered.  We had a much shorter trip this time due to the water and heat condtions.

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Mike pointing out Collins Canyon trailhead.

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Most of the gear is in.

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Nick M, Nick T, Bill, and Will -ready to roll.

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Fab 4 plus Mike this time.

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Heading out on the Collins Canyon access road.

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Another shot on the way out.

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Over some slickrock - In 2006, I had to have all my passengers get out and walk through here as the Corolla was dragging bottom.

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Rocky Road

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Smooth sailing again

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On the way back, we stopped off to hike up to Salvation Knoll, a historic moment in the epic pioneer trek of the Hole in the Rock Expedition when all hope was gone.

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Enlarge photo to read the story of Salvation Knoll.  On our drive from Collins Trailhead to the Gov't Trail, Mike had discussed with the driver about the Hole In the Rock expedition.  Our shuttle driver had told us about the trail to the top of Salvation Knoll and where to find the TURNOUT on Hwy 95.

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Panoramic view from the top of Salvation Knoll. Hwy 95 eastbound is at the left and westbound at the right.
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Panoramic view from the top of Salvation Knoll.
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Informational sign at top of Salvation Knoll.

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View from top of Salvation Knoll - after this side trip, we said our goodbyes to Cedar Mesa and started our long journey back to Washington.  We stopped at the Homestead Steakhouse in Blanding for a meal that wasn't freeze dried.  The restaurant was crowed with Native American families, who had apparently just attended an elementary/middle school graduation as the kids were all dressed in full ceremonial regalia (quite impressive).
We spent our first night in Logan, UT where we stopped and had supper with Mike's daughter, Madison.  The next day we rode with Mike to Kennewick, where the Nicks and I transferred to the Gray Ghost and continued on to Lynnwood.


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After the trip home I took the filter out of the Pur Scout.  This is what it looked like compared to a brand new filter.  Makes you wonder what your insides look like after spending a week there.

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