Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bryce, nice

I don't like to tout National Parks because there is plenty of great free stuff to do. However, the Peekaboo Loop accessed from Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon National Park is the most awesome hike in the most eye-popping N. P.
Hiking in Bryce is no walk in the park. The hoodoos reflect the sun's heat uncomfortably on uphill grades. High elevations and natural ups and downs make this a demanding hike. The park recommends 3-4 hours, we did it in 2 1/2. I could not recommend this on a hot summer afternoon.
This loop and access lets one see the entire Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, worthy of the name. And see the Wall of Windows. The Bryce Point access is not always open, dependent on weather. Peekaboo can also be accessed from Navaho Loop (still great but not as).

We prefaced this 5 1/2 mile hike (rated strenuous) with the 1 mile Bristlecone Loop at the top of the paved 18 mile park road. These trees are always cruelly twisted but they like it like that-bad weather is good for thousand year life spans apparently. We didn't need to do this, as Peekaboo had a few specimens. But it's an extra mile if you want it.
So go on a free National Parks day.
Red Canyon next door in Dixie National Forest has free access.

Visit website here

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hometown Tiny Canyon

It's nice to drive just a few miles from home for a nice hike. Tiny Canyon  is the canyon at the south end of the rifle range which is north of Kanab, Ut. on Hwy. 89 (or the canyon just north of Trail Canyon, which is across from Hog Canyon). We accessed it twice trying to find a supposed Indian ruin in the south fork. Well we tried two south forks and haven't found it yet. There are some short decent narrows in the 2nd. south fork (turn south out of Tiny just before the west fork dry-or-wet falls). Anyway, to explore any southern forks, park at the range and find any trail on the north rim. My opinion: unless you find the ruin site, not worth the trouble for the southern forks. UP AND DOWN IN THE SAND & BRUSHY! But scenic.
We did find a nice cave (Mace) in the north fork though. Pictographs, petroglyphs, metates. Across the wash from Mace Cave there is a ruin site under a ledge, maybe 3 or 4 pits and some original beam posts. Not much there but still interesting. You could go the same way as to the last south fork and turn north. My recommendation though is to drive north past the rifle range where the guardrail ends and park. (If you get to the Best Friends turn you are too far.) Head up the sandy drainage on the west side of Hwy. 89. Get ALL THE WAY to the top. This should take a good half hour to 45 minutes. Now head west cross country, erring on the side of Tiny Canyon for orientation. 1 1/2 hours should get you to the obvious large cave at the end of the north fork. We took 3 1/2 hours round trip with exploration. You can cut time off on the way back by staying back from Tiny Canyon and taking a more direct line. Orientation should not be an issue on your way back. It's just ESE. This hike is not too tough but is not for really hot weather. We went at 8a.m. in the summer. It's sandy! Good views!
We haven't given up on those elusive ruins in the south fork yet.