Day 5: Meandering thru Canyon Terrain

Tuesday April 25, 22.3mi/35.9km

Due west of Canyonlands Overlook (53.0/4390ft) to Rustler Canyon (73.0/4240ft) (UT) +1.8mi bonus looking for Lockhart Cliffs shortcut +0.5mi water

I woke to a nice cool cloudy morning, and the temperatures were perfect. I was on the dirt road for an hour.

I could see across the Colorado River where the Sun was poking through the clouds.

After an hour on the road I came to the Lockhart cliffs. There is an alternate route that weaves directly through the cliffs, rather than going around them.

I spent an hour attempting to find my way through the maze of cliffs, but the GPS track was just a little off, and without photos or a text description, it was going to be nearly impossible to find the way down. For precision navigation like that it really is best to have a good written description. Oh well. I went back up to the dirt road and continued onward.

It’s springtime in the desert! All the flowers are out.

After a couple miles on that dirt road I turned off and headed downhill into a wash.

There was even some water! But I could tell from all the white minerals surrounding the pools, that the water was probably alkaline. It tasted funny too.

I came to the base of the cliff that I had attempted to scramble down earlier. Theoretically there is a route that starts at the top left and finishes on the bottom right of the photo.

I have been seeing hoof prints for the last hour, and I found more evidence of cows…

I departed the wash, and meandered around canyons, staying up on a plateau.

There was all sorts of interesting things up here. A random cairn!

A huge paw print!

And a Patagonia jacket!?

I picked up the jacket and strapped it to my backpack. I’d rather not carry extra weight, but can’t leave litter in the wilderness. I’ll bring it to the Canyonlands NP office for its owner to retrieve it. I left the plateau and headed down it into another wash, which I followed down to the Lockhart Canyon Road. It was another remote dirt road with no cars, but it did have a water source!

This water looked and tasted less alkaline then the previous source, so I filled up a bottle and filtered it.

I walked up the road for an hour, which was really pleasant with all the beautiful scenery distracting me.

There was even a tiny little arch in this cliff!

Eventually I left the road and began my descent into Rustler Canyon. It started off as a narrow rocky watercourse.

Eventually it became a wider sandy Canyon bottom.

There were so many springtime flowers blooming down here in the sandy canyon! I don’t know any of their names, but they came in so many colors. Red!




I hiked most of the way down the canyon, and stopped at little early at 4:30. My GPS told me I had already hiked 20 miles today, and I’m trying take it slow starting out, to avoid overuse injury. I setup my tent well above the bottom of the wash, in case there’s any rain during the night.

By 5:30 I had already completely setup and had dinner, so I read my book for a couple hours before falling asleep at sunset.

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