Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Enter Owl and exit Fish Canyon...

was the plan as I set off on a two-day solo backpack exploration of a remote part of the Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah.  Here I am in a rare self portrait taking the first steps on the 17 mile-long trail that would eventually loop back to the parked vehicle  (click images to enlarge):

It was no messing around from the start.  The drop into Owl Canyon was a plunge down steep slickrock, with the trail navigating around several large pour-offs, ultimately reaching the canyon bottom after about three miles:

At about five miles, the impressive Nevill's Arch (~ 80 ft high, ~ 140 ft wide) is encountered high in the canyon wall:

After rounding the so-called confluence between Owl and Fish Canyons (the water course in both was bone dry this time of year), I continued my walk until about 11 miles where I scratched out a simple bivy on a high sand bar:

This delicate yellow primrose opened in the night and provides a colorful treat in the cool morning air, but by mid-day will be wilted and baked in the sweltering sun:

On the second day of the hike several pools of water were encountered after heading further up-canyon in Fish, and given the exceptionally dry winter and spring in the area, must be sustained by springs:

A cairn marked the exit point, and the 600 ft climb/scramble to the rim went quickly, as did the last 1.5 miles to the trailhead, where I reached the car and cool drinks shortly after noon.  Next:  On to Muley Point!

RELATED:  Here's a good description of the route.

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