Day 8: Butler Wash to Beef Basin

Friday April 28, 20.5mi/33.0km

Devils Pocket Campsite (98.6/5400ft) to Beef Basin (115.8/6040ft) (UT) + 3.3mi Needles Alternate

I didn’t get my usual 8 hours of sleep, for some reason a random windstorm came through at 1am and tried to flatten my tent. It was gone after 20 minutes and I fell back to sleep. Weird. I was on trail at 6:45am, hiking through the Devils pocket.

I passed through the same gap I had come through last night (the first mile of today is just retracing my steps back to the main trail).

It was a perfect morning for hiking, probably 50F/10C. I quickly came to the Chesler Park trailhead, which meant I was almost out of Canyonlands NP.

I had no idea there were more campsites this far south in the park. Horsehoof used to be an arch until it collapsed about 20 years ago.

After about an hour of walking I left the dirt road I had been traveling and turned off into Butler Wash.

The rocky parts made for some really enjoyable walking, the soft sandy parts…. not so much.

I walked up Butler wash all morning, it was probably about 4 hours until I reached the top. To exit the wash I had to climb up the last rocky bit of it, which apparently contains this neat little arch formation.

I believe the guidebook authors called it “Seldom Seen” arch.

I passed through the arch and then had to overcome a small 6ft/2m cliff. Previous travelers had stacked some rocks and a large log as a sort of ladder, but it was still strenuous and awkward. I had to take off my pack, and then haul it up after me, using the small cord I brought for that purpose.

And then, right around lunchtime, I found an amazing surprise. Water!!

I had not expected to find water anywhere in this dry wash, and my next expected water source was another 5 miles away in dirty cow country. So, I stocked up. And I swapped my lunch and dinner meals, so I could boil water and make my dinner now and not have to carry that water all afternoon.

It was a relaxing little spot at the top of the Butler wash. After another 30 minutes of scrambling and hiking through rocky terrain, I exited the drainage and crossed over the divide into Beef Basin. The view to the west was spectacular.

I dropped down off the divide, and I hiked cross-country through Beef Basin.

Pretty soon I saw my first living beef (aka cows), though they were too shy for a photo. I did follow their paths all afternoon though.

Hiking down Beef Basin wash wasn’t that exciting, but I was able to avoid all the soft sand by sticking to the cattle trails.

By 5:30 p.m. I had come to the end of the wash, and decided to stop for the day. I didn’t want to setup my tent in the cow-infested valley, so I scrambled up 50 feet to the top of a little mesa, and pitched my tent under a small tree. Perfect!

Hopefully the wind doesn’t come back tonight, I’m 1000ft/300m higher in elevation, and it’s pretty exposed in this region.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s