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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2019 Trips > Grand Gulch 2018 > 
Grand Gulch 2018 day 2
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Grand Gulch 2018
Day 2 - May 22

Wall Ruin
El Cid Ruin
Surprise Petroglyph Panel
Cactus Butt!

Will Approaching El Cid Ruin

Our original plan for the second day was to hike down Grand Gulch and camp in Green House Canyon. Just below the Bullet-Grand Gulch junction, we met a group of high school students who told us that the water situation was sketchy. We decided to backtrack and go up the Gulch and to camp at our 2016 camp in Sheiks Canyon

Along the way we visited Wall Ruin, and several other sites that we had not been to on our previous trips. Will had an unfortunate encounter with a cactus while descending a slope that required some precise extraction of needles using a tweezer. After a cloudy morning, the afternoon got very hot and we were glad when the sun dipped below the canyon walls.

Kickass Trekkers on this trip were: Bill Mooseker, Shelby Stong, Fred Stong, Will Stong, Mike Stong, and Allan Hoseth

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 "The High Adventure Troop" Backpacking Trip
-Cascade Bill Mooseker

Date(s): May 22, 2018. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 199 of 199 Total. 152 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.

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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Allan was up early and got some photos of our camp - here you can see Fred (behind bush) and his tent.

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Will's and Allan's tents - Will borrowed my Sierra Designs Lightyear 1 tent for the trip.

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It was an overcast morning, which was good as it kept the temperature down.

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Looking down canyon from our camp.

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Side view of the Pouroff.

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Ledge above Will and Allan's tents with the pouroff to the right.

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Cooking area with convenient sitting/table rock.  You can see from the color of the water in the jug that the water is pretty good.
(Note that the new REI jug, which replaced the old reliable Reliance 5 gal jug has a mouth that is too small for the filter plug)

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Shelby's tent with Fred's beyond.  Note the rock anchors on the sandstone.

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Bill's tent - on sand so unstable that it wouldn't hold the tent pegs.

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Area just below our camp

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View of the Pouroff from below - you can see it was quite a hump up to get the water in the potholes.  But as they say "Beggars can't be choosers", and we were begging for water at that point.

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Close up of Pouroff

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Edge of pouroff - how the water has smoothed the surface.

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Getting ready to go - Bill, Mike, Will, Fred and Shelby.  I'm putting on my hiking boots sitting on our convenient rock bench.  You can see the steep trail behind us that you take up to the potholes for water.  It's good that you're carrying it down instead of up!

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Will's photo looking down canyon - looks like I'm the last one ready as usual.

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While we were having breakfast a very large group of Colorado high school students passed us by.  They were completing an outdoor class with a backpacking trip.

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Lawn chair backpacking at its best

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Will & Shelby

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Mike - strapped and ready to go.

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Shelby & Will - Bill's almost ready.  When I moved my pack in the morning, I found a large cricket that had crawled under it to keep warm.  Just before I left, I saw that ants had found him and were dismembering him as he was immobilized in the morning chill .

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05-22-9-01 camp bill.mp4
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Camp discussion and hiking down canyon under cloudy skies.

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Looking down canyon from our camp.

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A short way down canyon from our camp

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Unusual cottonwood giant at the junction of Bullet Canyon with Grand Gulch.

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Will - it was unusual to see all the camps at the junction empty (no water as the spring had dried up).  Whenever we had camped here before, there were no sites without tents.

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Will at cottonwood

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Rock formations at the junction

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Close up - looks like a dinosaur emerging from the egg.

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Claret cup cactus blooms

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We took a break a ways down the Gulch beyond the mouth of Bullet Canyon. As we were sitting there, we met the second group of Colorado High School Students coming up from Green House Canyon, where we were planning to camp that night.  They said that the water situation there was pretty sketchy.

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Bill & Shelby discussing options.

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Fred & Will

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Fred & Will

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Shelby took all of my maps (I print out 11x17 copies of Google Earth images) and lined them up showing our planned trip. Bullet Canyon is the line of maps to the right. The bottom two maps are Grand Gulch with Green House Canyon.  The three maps bending up to the left are Grand Gulch and then Sheiks Canyon.

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You can see the junction here.

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05-22-10-20 maps will.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Discussion whether to go with the original plan and continue down to Green House Canyon or to backtrack and head for Sheiks Canyon for the night.  As the hiking down from the junction is what we kindly refer to as "Bastard Miles" and with sketchy water, we decided to take the latter option.

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Mike in Grand Gulch wash above the junction with Bullet - usually this is a boggy and muddy mess.

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It was easy hiking in the wash this year - in 2016, it was like THIS along this same stretch of canyon.

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Mike hiking in the wash

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Unusual rock in the wash

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Through a break in the trees, you can see Wall Ruin. If you enlarge to original size, you can see the members of the Colorado High School at the ruin.

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Telephoto of Wall Ruin - you can make out the students.  We didn't visit this ruin in 2016.

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Wall Ruin through the trees

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Students are coming down

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Another view

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Wall Ruin from below

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Upper level of Wall Ruin

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Wall opening stands out

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It's a steep climb over slickrock to get to the ruin, but septuagenarian Allan made it and got this photo of Fred and Shelby below.

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Looking up canyon from inside the walls of Wall Ruin - the wall with the opening seen in previous images is at the far end shown here.

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The upper level of Wall Ruin is accessed by a slot which you can see at the left.

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Looking down from the ruin - Will is making his way up and Bill is just arriving at the right.

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Rubble wall at lower level - slot to upper level is at top left.

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The wall at the up canyon end has a curve to it similar to a kiva, but there are no smoke darkened areas indicating that it was.  Looks from the rubble in the foreground that there was a wall there separating it from the rest.

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From the outside, it looks like the openings in the wall are "arrow slits", but as you can see here, they are at the bottom of the inside wall probably for ventilation.  Fill inside the wall as been added to make a level floor.

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There is a granary behind this slab of rock that has splintered off the face of the alcove.

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Close up of door to granary

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05-22-11-45 wall ruin 1 will.mp4
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Will's video of Wall Ruin - he even made it up to the upper level!!!

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Mike exploring bench as seen from ruin

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Looking across the canyon from the ruin

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Looking down canyon from the ruin

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05-22-11-54 mike at wall ruin bill.mp4
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Bill's video of Mike climbing down (butt slide) from the ruin.  Fred and I didn't go up.  I was up there in 2002 (as seen HERE).  On this trip, it looked a little too steep and being a few months shy of being 75 instead of 59, I opted to stay below.

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Fred and Shelby consulting the map

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Will doing the "butt slide" down

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Will is almost to the bottom.  Allan is "saddled" up and ready to go.

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Looking down the Gulch before heading out

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Final look at lower level of Wall Ruin

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Wall ruin - lower and upper levels

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Yellow Prickly Pear bloom

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Another bloom

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05-22-12-20 Hiking the ledge bill will.mp4
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Hiking along a sandstone ledge above the wash

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Will is dwarfed by the massive canyon walls (enlarge photo to see him)

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Will and Mike clamber over a boulder field obstructing the ledge.

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More yellow cactus blooms

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Making our way along the ledge

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Drainage chute worn into the ledge over thousands of years

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Mike and Will forge ahead

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Mike and Will

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As we round a bend a gem of a ruin appears - looking almost like a Moorish castle

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Will & Bill approaching the ruin (Shelby was carrying my pack through this section)

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View of Ruin

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Will - In the shadows you can see Fred & Shelby taking advantage of the shade on a hot day.

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This ruin doesn't have a name AFAIK, but it reminds me of a Moorish Castle, so I am calling it the El Cid Ruin, after one of my favorite movies of my youth!

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Bill's video of ruin

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Shelby inspecting ruin

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Shelby, Bill, & Fred

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Some pottery shards at the ruin

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Detail of shard showing showing ridges pressed in the clay

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These storage areas have deteriorated over time

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There is a narrow passage between the Large room at the left and the granary at the right. The granary door seems to be in a poor position because of the narrowness of the space between the walls.

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The passage leads to a "terraced" area at the back.

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In the back of the passage there is a bed of twigs and sticks.  It's hard to imagine animals or the wind bringing them in here.

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Looking into the interior of the main room from the top - note the openings.

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Interior of the main room - the floor is pretty spotless.

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Looking down into the granary opposite the main room.

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View across the top of the granary. I wonder what they used for a roof as there is no evidence of beams or rafters as found in other ruins.

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Looking the other direction - the top of the wall is relatively flat.

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Shelby & Bill - photo taken from passage between the granary and the main room.

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Door of the granary - typical "horse collar" shape.

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Looking through the granary door from the opposite side. Enlarge photo to see what appears to be "finger" marks shaping the clay mortar as it was placed.  No that is not a Vibram sole print at the upper left.

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Allan in the passage, showing the height of the walls and the size of the door.

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Fred - The door to the main room features the common "Block T" shape.  You can see that the height of the walls is pretty even across the ruin, except at the back.

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Mike found a rounded "rock" laying in the sand and when he picked it up it turned out to be an intricately decorated pottery shard.

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Close up of Pottery shard

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To the left of the main room of the ruin are two granaries, and what appears to be a built up terrace to provide a level floor.  Note the unusual "block" depressions in the mortar - like stones were pressed into the clay before it set.

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Another view of the "Terrace" and the rounded wall of the main ruin.

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Photo showing the openings in the rounded wall- two different styles.

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Further along there was another ruin built into an alcove.

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This ruin is fairly large and door seems larger than normal for a typical granary.

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Fred at ruin

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Side of ruin - seems like the builder took a short cut with that large rock. I'm wondering why the bottom courses are not grouted as the upper.

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Will & Fred

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Mike, Will, & Fred

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View of the alcove and the patterns in the rock above - also note the strange pile of rocks to the right of the ruin leveling a hole in the bedrock.

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Bill heading out

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Shifting bands of layers in the sandstone

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Fred coming around the bend

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There was a little bit of shade so we ducked in to escape the heat for a little while

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Looking up canyon from our shady spot

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When we got up to go, we found that behind us was a petraglyph panel - a serendipitous surprise.

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Bill viewing petraglyphs

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Petraglyphs (enlarge for best view)

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Mike videoing the panel (unfortunately the SD card was lost)

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Bighorn sheep marching along - this blocky design seems to the standard one common to many panels across Utah.  Compare them to the "frisky" bighorns also found on this panel

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Expanded view - a lot of figures have faded out over time.

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More figures

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Frog? sheep?

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Close up of frog(?) - in the sunlight you can see the indentation in the rock

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Another section of the panel

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Enlarged detail

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Concentric circles with an extended wavy line.  Seems to be a common theme:
Slickhorn Canyon (2015)
Lower Grand Gulch (2006)

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Frisky bighorn?

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More figures

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Another section of the panel

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Another frisky bighorn?

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Stylized bighorn

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Another view

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Continuing along

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Erosion patterns in the rock

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Bill hiking in the shade

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Looking down to the wash

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Looking across the canyon - trails from the bench down to the wash

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Looking down canyon across the wash

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Will - A little further up canyon from the previous photos are these Hoodoos across the way.

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Mike & Fred arriving at break spot

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We found a shady spot around the bend and while we were sitting there someone (can't remember who) spotted a granary across the canyon.  Enlarge the picture to original size and look above the highest branch of the lower tree at center right.

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Telephoto view of granary across the canyon

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Allan at break spot

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Bill & Fred (worn out) - Mike & Shelby ready to go.

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05-22-14-20 break time mike 2.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.
"My Buddies"

Allan shares an off color joke during our break.  Just prior to this, Mike swapped out his full SD card from his GoPro with an extra that Will had.  You can see Will putting the card in a ziploc bag and putting it in his pack.  Unfortunately between then and when we got back, the card was lost including all the footage up to that point of the trip.

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How do we get down??

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While it was fairly easy to get up on the ledge, getting down was not. Steep gullies due to erosion as seen here made things difficult.  Shelby came back up this one to show me the way down - you couldn't just hike down the gully as it was periodically choked with debris so you had to bushwhack out and around.  Not a pleasant experience.

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Hidden in a deep alcove was this little granary.

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05-22-15-30 cactus butt mike.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

On the way down, Will had an unfortunate encounter with an angry Prickly Pear cactus (with the emphasis on "Prickly").

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Allan made his way down and his encounter with a Prickly Pear cactus was much different.

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Another bloom

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05-22-15-50 prickly porcupine mike.mp4
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Will discussing the aftermath of his cactus encounter

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A memorable section of slickrock - it was much different in 2002 with a large pool of water here: Click Here.

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Another cactus bloom by Allan

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More blooms

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Yellow bloom

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Another yellow bloom

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05-22-16-15 Bill in Sheiks canyon mike.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Bill huffing and puffing his way up to our camp. At this point I was really worried as there was water along this whole stretch in 2016, but was totally dry two years later.

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05-22-17-02 Green Mask spring source mike.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Mike and his GoPro investigate the source of the Green Mask Spring.

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05-22-17-04 frogs tadpoles getting water mike.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Mike follows the water flow from the source down to the pools where Fred, Will, and Allan are filling our jugs with water. Along the way are encounters with frogs and tadpoles galore.

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Fred and Will filling our water jugs

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Fred & Will

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We use our coffee pot to dip water from the pool

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Pouring water into the 5 gal jug - this was a new jug from REI.  It wasn't the old reliable from Reliance of Canada and fell short as the mouth was too small for the water filter intake hose plug.

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Bill getting some Kool Aid Lemonade after a hot day on the trail

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Shelby in camp

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Fred measuring out some Kool Aid

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Mike in camp

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Allan's tent

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Will's Tent

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Fred's Tent (Cramped 2 man!)

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Fred, Will & Mike in camp

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Cooking the veggies for Chili - onions, jalapenos, & garlic

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Dinner is cooking

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Chili is simmering. Cider is brewing. Shelby is preparing cheesecake.

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Will pumping water.  Shelby mixing the cheesecake for dessert and the water's on for super sugary spiced tea.

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A lawn chair is always welcome in camp

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Fred getting his tent ready for the night

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After dinner camp time

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Looking down Sheiks Canyon towards the Gulch from our camp

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High ruins above the Breech Birth Panel (Enlarge photo)

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Relaxing before bed time

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05-22-19-50 Prewash for chili mike.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Pre-wash and Wash of Chili Night dishes.  Bill & Shelby erecting their tents

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