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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2019 Trips > Grand Gulch 2018 > 
Grand Gulch 2018 day 4
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Grand Gulch 2018
May 24, 2018

Climb out of Sheiks Canyon
Yellow House Ruin

Bill & Shelby Skirting Sheiks Canyon Pouroff

It was with great trepidation that I planned the trip coming out Sheiks Canyon as all of the guide books stated that it was steep and difficult. As it was one of the few remaining side canyons in the Grand Gulch system that we had not done, I felt that I would be able to make it even if they had to rope me up and haul me out!

We got a very early start as we wanted to make the most of the early morning cool and hike in the shade as long as possible. The first obstacle was a very steep climb up a bouldery slope, which we did without much trouble. At the top we dropped our packs and climbed up to a nearby saddle to get a view of Grand Gulch. The rest of the climb out of Sheiks was a little easier and quite enjoyable.

Along the way we stopped to scope out a small but very well preserved granary. Near the end of the canyon, we visited the Yellow House ruin (actually several structures), which was a great way to end our trip. It was only a short distance from Yellow House, to the rim of the canyon and then just a few minutes from the trailhead. After changing clothes and a quick sponge bath, we were on our way back home.

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

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 Kickass Trekkers Backpacking Trip
-Cascade Bill Mooseker

Date(s): May 24, 2018. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 123 of 123 Total. 335 Visits.
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Leaving camp - Because of the midday heat and the scarcity of shade in upper Sheiks Canyon, we had an early "get up and go" morning and we were on our way after a quick breakfast at about 6:30 MDT.

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Pool from the Green Mask Spring where we filled our jugs.

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Will hiking past pools of the Green Mask Spring - Just around the bend the canyon is blocked by a massive boulder jam.

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The initial boulder jam on the way up Sheiks Canyon - Shelby looking for an alternate way up while Mike and Allan are working their way up.

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The boulder jam - there were cairns marking the way.

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05-24-05-50 Sheiks Hell Climb mike bill.mp4
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Video of the climb up the first boulder jam of Sheiks Canyon.

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Will, Shelby, and Mike - after we made the climb up the boulder jam, we dropped our packs and climbed to a saddle between Grand Gulch and Sheiks.

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Shelby & Mike

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Bill making his way up to the saddle

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Taking in the view

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05-24-06-25 The Thumb viewpoint.mp4
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Video of the view from the saddle, looking into Grand Gulch

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View of the "Thumb" a prominent landmark in Grand Gulch.  We hiked past in 2016 as shown HERE.

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Telephoto of the Thumb

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Grand Gulch up-canyon from the Thumb

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Shelby & Mike

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Bill & Fred taking in the view

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Shelby & Mike

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Bill & Shelby -Looking down from the saddle to where where we dropped our packs.

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Fred heading down to where we dropped the packs

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Looking back down Sheiks

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Looking up canyon from where we dropped our packs - note the rock below the headland at the center with the two dark streaks as it will be in the next couple of photos.

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05-24-06-55 Sheiks Canyon Climb 1a.mp4
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Composite of videos from Bill and Mike for the next section of the hike up Sheiks Canyon. (You can tell mine by the heavy breathing!)

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Allan and Fred negotiate faint tread below the rock with the two dark streaks.

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As we made our way up canyon, we came across a small spring coming out of the mountainside - surely a wonder in such a dry year!

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The keeps close the to north side and passes through this grove of very old pines.

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The trail is pretty well defined through this section

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Looking across the canyon

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Mike and Will heading up to a ledge - we're finally out of the shade and into the morning sun almost two hours after leaving our camp.

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Allan making his way up the same slope - a little while before this, Allan had been led by some improperly placed cairns to the other side of the canyon, but he was able to rejoin us without backtracking.

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Allan (and Fred if you look carefully) making their way around the bend on the ledge that will lead to the second big obstacle going up Sheiks Canyon, a pouroff.

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05-24-07-20 Sheiks Pouroff Part 1.mp4
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Mike's video of following the ledge down to a boulder arch and up over a pouroff.

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Shelby, Fred, Will, and Mike in the boulder arch

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Close up shot - note small cairn at their feet, which no doubt will be washed away with the next flash flood!

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Passing under the arch, the pouroff is visible.

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I was a ways behind and got this shot of the arch whose boulders are dwarfed by the monster to the right.  You can see Mike beyond the arch.

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Bill entering the arch

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The pouroff ledge that you need to climb up - I don't know if the branch washed down or was brought to help one up.

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Looking back along the ledge leading to the arch - we were briefly in the sun but are now back in the shade.  You can see why the trail led us up the way we came as the pouroff below is too high to climb.

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05-24-07-20 Sheiks Pouroff Part 2.mp4
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Mike's video of Will climbing up the pouroff.  When I arrive, my comment was, "Oh Shit!".  I went looking for an easier way but didn't find one.

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Will went back down and pushed me up and over the hump, and I got this shot of him coming back up.  Not a trivial task for old men!

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Looking back at the ledge

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05-24-07-20 Sheiks Pouroff 3.mp4
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Compilation of Bill and Mike's video: Beyond the pouroff is a steep slickrock ascent that leads to another pouroff.

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Mike going up slickrock to next pouroff

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Bill going up slickrock around a big rock slab.  This rock is located HERE.

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Big Rock Slab

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05-24-07-20 Sheiks Pouroff Part 4.mp4
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Mike's video - continuing up slickrock past the next pouroff.  Shelby found an easier way for me to get up.

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Will climbing steep slickrock to avoid the pouroff

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Mike, Will, and Fred

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Bill & Shelby: this is the section right above the 2nd pouroff

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Bill climbing up the slickrock

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Shelby retrieving his pack

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05-24-07-39 Sheiks Canyon Breaktime 1.mp4
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Beyond the pouroff, the canyon bends to the left and we took a break in the shade where the sandstone layers formed convenient steps for sitting.

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Checking the map at our break

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Shelby looking at the map while Bill is getting a reading on his GPS.

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Shelby, Fred, Bill, Mike, and Will - you can see the "steps" in the sandstone.

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Mike having a snack

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Fred, Bill, & Mike

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Desert life is hard - as attested by an old snag.

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Bill, Fred (in shadow) and Will: After taking our break at the bend, we headed up the slickrock to find another pouroff. Note the rock above Will as it will be featured in the "Sheiks Canyon Birthing Canal" video further on.

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Bill and Fred avoiding boulders clogging the channel.

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05-24-08-13 Sheiks Birthing Canal 1.mp4
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Mike's video of Fred and Will being reborn through the "Sheiks Canyon Birthing Canal". A much harder way than the climb to the left. The way leads to another small pouroff with seeping water and a small pool.

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Water seeping through the layers of sandstone

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Unusual plant clinging to the rock - see previous video for closeup.

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Shelby giving Bill a hand up the last pouroff as we enter upper Sheiks.

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Mike, Fred and Will

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05-24-08-16 Sheiks Canyon.mp4
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Mike's video: Allan, Shelby, and Bill leave the last pouroff behind and enter upper Sheiks.  Note the canyon is much wider and the walls are much lower.

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Shelby, Bill & Mike, who is taking a video.

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Sand and Slickrock - typical of this section of Sheiks.  Will and Fred are ahead in the distance

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Bill above a slickrock stairway

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Over the years, flood waters have cut down through the sandstone layers

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A primrose blossom along the way

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Will forging ahead along the broad wash of the upper Sheiks

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05-24-08-58 Small Ruin Documentary 1 bill  will.mp4
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Bill & Will's video documentary of a small ruin located just off the wash of upper Sheiks

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Will & Shelby investigate the granary

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Will and Shelby - the granary was tucked in under this rock shelf

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05-24-08-59 Small Ruin Documentary of the Documentary mike.mp4
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Mike's Documentary of the Documentary!

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Will at the granary

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Mike inspecting the granary

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Fred in the wash; Allan sitting and taking photos; & Bill on his way up to the ruin

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Mike making his "documentary"

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I didn't want to climb up so I handed my camera to Mike to take photos of the pictographs above the ruin.

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Very well preserved "Horse Collar" door and entrance step to the granary

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Faded pictographs above granary

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Another view

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Concentric squares on a diagonal; a circle with an off center cross; and an vague figure to its right

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More designs to the right of the previous photo

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View of the construction of the granary

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05-24-09-30 Sheiks Ledge Break.mp4
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Mike's video: After hiking in the sun for quite a while, the cairns led us up out of the wash onto a ledge, which we would stay on past the Yellow House ruin. After hiking in the wash for quite a ways, it was nice to take a break in the shade here.

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About a half hour past the small granary, we came to another ruin, with a rather incongruous log sticking out of it. If you look closely or enlarge the photo you can see the first ruin of the Yellow House complex a short distance ahead.

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View of window in ruin

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As this view shows, there wasn't much room in this ruin.

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Interior of ruin

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Down canyon end of first ruin in Yellow House complex. (note this photo is out of sequence as Allan had gone back to look for his glasses - if you enlarge the photo, you can see Mike and Bill already on their way out).

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This is the Yellow House complex.

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Edge on view of the down canyon ruin of the Yellow House complex - this ruin is in disrepair.

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View of the interior of this ruin

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Mike, Shelby, and Will explore the complex - Allan has going back to look for his glasses.

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05-24-09-44 Yellow House Ruin.mp4
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Mike's video of the Yellow House complex

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05-24-09-45 Yellow House Ruin 2.mp4
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Will's video of the Yellow House complex - showing the interior of the Yellow House and the yucca ties holding the roof to the beams.

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Roof beams of the Yellow House

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Yucca ties on the roof beams - I think that the name "Yellow House" comes from the yellow tinted clay as seen here.

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Roof structure of the Yellow House - Note small branches with mud slurry overlay.

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Complicated structure of interlocking rooms - we were wondering how the access of the room with the window in the back wall was accessed. Note the opening in the foreground shows that this wall was breeched at some point - but there was no rubble near the opening.

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Side wall of the Yellow House - note the large flat stones at the bottom of the wall. These are applied as a veneer as you can see in the next photo. Were they decorative or did they serve some other function.

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Front wall of the Yellow House has been destroyed - note the veneer rocks at the right bottom.

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Roof beam embedded in wall

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Roof beams embedded in wall

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Room or granary? Note roof beams are perpendicular to those in the other Yellow House room. Interior of this room shown in next photo.

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Interior of the room shown in the previous photo - note that there are no yucca ties here and the branches spanning between the beams are also larger.

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Leaving the Yellow House, it was a short hike to the canyon rim - along the way was this tunnel made by a huge slab leaning against the canyon wall - you don't go through it though.

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05-24-10-25 Sheiks canyon rim.mp4
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Finally out of Sheiks and hiking along the rim. Fred & Shelby had gone on ahead to do the car shuttle.  For the record, the mountain in the video is probably Moss Back Butte or might be The Wingate as seen HERE from the Gov't Trail in 2017.

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Allan & Bill -After a strenuous hike, the septuagenarians made it!

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This is a primitive campsite near the end of the road where we waited for Shelby to return - Will is taking a photo of Allan

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Allan - still going strong after a long hike!

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Allan enjoying a welcome but warm Busch beer at the end of the hike.

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Allan stowing the gear in the truck. After washing up as best we could and changing clothes we headed out for the Homestead Steak House in Blanding where we met Fred and enjoyed a non-freeze dried meal!!

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Leaving the Budget Motel in Burley, Idaho after our "deluxe" Continental breakfast(?).

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