Monday, August 31, 2009
One of my personal favorites, this is the kind of ruin site that makes a person feel as if he discovered it. It entails taking a rustic, remote road to get to it. Then the site seems dark and secretive upon arrival. No one else could have ever found this!
This ruin is unique for it pictograph interpretations of the moon's phases, thus the naming of it. There is also a good snake pictograph to rival the one at "River House Ruin". There are a lot of great original building timbers (ca. 13th. century).
There are several ways to get to this site. I have tried them, and this is the easiest on your vehicle (I take my 4WD Jeep): Turn east off of Hwy 261, which is the main Grand Gulch access road, onto the "Mormon Trail" or Snow Flat Spring Cave Road #237. This access road is 7 miles south of Utah Hwy. 95 off of Rt. 261. After turning off-pavement, take the left fork at 1/2 mile. The worst spot in the road is between the 3 and 3 1/2 mile mark. Parking is on the right at 8.2 miles. Please park here and do not drive the road north at this point. The BLM charges a $2 fee for day hiking. Whatever, if you get caught not paying, I don't know what happens.
Hike the old road north for 1 1/4 miles to the canyon rim. This is McLoyd's Canyon, where the ruin is situated. Then you must find the cairned trail that guides you into the canyon. The trail splits shortly then, the left fork to "Moon House" overlook, the right fork to the ruin. There is a tricky spot at a pour-off, but you can do it, and this thing is worth the trouble. Have a partner though, just in case of trouble. When you pass between two huge boulders, you have reached bottom.
The ruin site will be to the right, across the canyon, and up a jumble of rocks to a slickrock bench. Upon reaching this bench, look for the crack left to the next upper level, where the "Moonie" is located.
Please do not enter the rooms with the moon pictographs. It is incumbent on each of us to protect this site, as there is little administration. Photography is difficult at this ruin. It is dark, and I would recommend a tripod.
The closest towns are Mexican Hat and Bluff, but Blanding has more services.
Though the hike itself is short, exploration time should be long at this great place.
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