Feb 7, 2004

Saturday, Ed Johnson and I hiked Grand Gulch, which is located near the four-corners region, west of Blanding.  It is normally a long three-day backpack. We traveled down there Friday night and started the hike at dawn.   Temperatures were in the 20’s but warmed up into the low 30’s.  The weather was sunny most of the day. There was about 4-6 inches of snow at the trailheads, but we were not deterred.   We dropped off Ed’s bike (our shuttle) at the Grand Gulch trailhead and then drove eight miles to put in at the Bullet Canyon trailhead. 

The hike was amazing, but challenging. The amazing part was the numerous anasazi ruins along the way which were well preserved.   We saw about 8 sets, including some impressive cliff dwellings.   The challenging part was the snow.  About 3/4ths of the trail was covered with 1-4 inches of dry snow.  We obviously kept losing the trail, so it became a fun navigation exercise.  The terrain was cool, plenty of rock formations, cliffs, and even an arch.

We ran about a third of the way, but the hike still took ten hours.  We hiked 26 miles, included an unscheduled 2-mile detour up a wrong canyon.  (The GPS was a must for this hike).  We arrived at the Grand Gulch trailhead at dusk.  Ed rode eight miles on his bike in the dark to retrieve the car.  The journey home took hours because of the snow storm going over Soldier Summit.  We arrived home at 2:30 a.m.

Some URLS:
http://www.desertusa.com/mag99/june/stories/grandgulch.html
http://www.gdargaud.net/Climbing/GrandGulch.html
http://www.utah.com/playgrounds/grand_gulch.htm
http://cloud.prohosting.com/~mtnclmbr/grandgulch1.htm