Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"JOHN'S CANYON RIM (Duckheads)"

We white men, of course, have no actual clue what the Ancients' art works mean. These petroglyphs, unique to the San Juan River drainage area, sure look like ducks in place of heads to me. This neat (flat) canyon rim walking area is south of Grand Gulch Primitive Area. Turn off of Rt. 261, the main north to south road in the area, onto Goosenecks State Park Road (Rt. 316). I recommend high-clearance vehicles, as the road gets rougher later. In about 1/2 mile bear right as the park entrance is to the left. Do stop at the State Park sometime. The meanders are awesome. Continue on the dirt road, bearing right at 2 1/2 miles, and entering Glen Canyon National Recreation Area at 4 1/2 miles. Continuing on the most main road, go through a gate at about 6 1/2 miles. If there is no gate, you made a wrong turn somewhere. You will pass a few rock art sights from this point on to John's Canyon at about 14 miles. This is where I parked (for bicycle riding), but I guess a vehicle can be driven with care for another 3 1/2 miles to a "Wilderness Area" sign. From here on it's (southwestward on the rim) on foot only for as far as you can take it, the highlight being numerous petroglyphs. It gets plenty warm here, so pour-offs at the John's Canyon crossing are a welcome relief. There is an up-canyon trail with additional archaeological sights, but I haven't done it. They say it's about 3 miles up John's and then back. I can't say for sure how far the "duck head" trail of petroglyphs is, because we used to be able to ride bicycles here, and only had to worry about time and not mileage. I think there is abundant rock art for at least 3 miles into the Wilderness Area. Eventually, the petroglyphs peter out, but don't wear yourself out. See what you are comfortable with and head back WHEN THE DRINKING WATER IS HALF GONE. Bluff and Mexican Hat, Utah are the closest towns, both very small.

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