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Desert Trip 2022, Tour De Hanksville


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#11 Zoomad

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 03:15 AM

Day 3 

 

By now we are in the full routine.  But our late nights are keeping us from venturing out to catch the sunrise. But the morning dew added a little more moisture to the dirt.   Meaning it’s barefoot time still.  

 

We all pack up and are ready for the run today.  I managed to sort out the electrical issue with my radio so I could actually hear people again.  I call out the turn and we point the trucks north to head to Factory Butte and then further into the moonscape.  

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As the previous days have gone, the trails aren’t crazy rock crawling technical.  There are some challenging climbs or drops down that require full attention but the most part it’s unimproved roads with some spicy spots.  52199852894_23653cc502_b.jpg

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We are miles or better off paved roads so going nuts rock crawling is risky when you need to drive the beast home.  Our trucks are capable if we run into some things but my plan was to not focus on the crawling as much. 52199849339_bfb78535d7_b.jpg

 

The trail winds through the crazy grey dirt mounds eventually getting out on top and then diving back into a wash for a while.  We pull up to a trail intersection at Factory Butte and head left. 

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The trail climbs again and then comes around a blind corner and opens up to a wide flat landscape that has such a lunar-like look to it.  Just stunning and I’ve never seen anyplace like it.  So cool.  

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You end up climbing up and over  the mounds as the trail continues.   We turn again and find a wide valley with a surprising amount a green in it.   That green is hiding Muddy Creek somewhere within it.  

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A creek we will have to cross to proceed.  My previous Gaia track led me right to it and I stop to inspect with the group.  It’s a steep entry into the water and the water is moving fairly quickly.   You can see a higher waterline from the recent rains too.  No recent tracks either.  So with the group watching over me  I put the trans in low gear and creep into the water. 

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 It’s steep enough and deep enough that my front bumper enters the water.  I start applying power and it’s not going anywhere.  Crap.  I put it in reverse and it’s pretty obvious to those outside my front wheels aren’t driving.  

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My hubs are well under water and the creek is living up to its name as it looks like a river of chocolate milk.  We need to check the hubs but I’m not quite ready to go swimming.   So Larry  hooked up his which an tugged my Blazer back up to higher ground. 

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 Sure enough the left hub was unlocked.   I think I unlocked it on the last air up, but missed doing the other side.   But it don’t work unlocked.  Ty locked it in and Don checked the other and confirmed it was locked.  I dropped back in and had a hump on the creek floor to  go over.   It took a couple of tries but I packed it down and drove out of the creek.  The rest crossed with ease behind me.  

 

More moonlike landscapes.

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  I found a spot in the crook of one of the dry riverbed where the wall provided some shade to stop for lunch.  52198549482_5c58716fac_b.jpg

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We compared fuel levels and all agreed we could make a run back to Hanksville to refuel and resupply. 

 

Now entering Ding and Dang canyons.

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 So after lunch we exited the canyon and pounded a little pavement to take a dirt shortcut back to highway 24 past Goblin Valley state park.   

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***Continued…

 

 


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#12 Zoomad

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 03:16 AM

The Henry Mountains on the horizon give an idea of the ground we had covered in two days.  

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The trail is a fun one with a lot of sand to cruise through.  We came back to highway 24 and was far enough out of Hanksville to need to air up again.   While doing so Bill and I both heard a horrible dragging noise as a car sped down the road with a pop up trailer behind it and dragging a large 5 gallon orange water container under the front of the trailer.   Shortly after passing us the container exploded all over the road sending orange and white plastic shards everywhere.  

 

We laughed.   

 

Aired up we sped back to Hanksville and topped off again.    Tony decided to split off to go find a family mining claim.  Truck count down to five we head south another 1/2 mile and make a left turn to the east to run a trail that skirts the rim of the canyon the Dirty Devil River runs through.   We got close to the river in the canyon but with dark skies to the west we all agreed to keep moving and gain elevation for safer camping. The new trail now has us heading east with the sun behind us in the afternoon.

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We loop back away from the river and find we are running in dry fluffy sand.  Almost like flour. 

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On our way up we hit a deep sandy climb that was quite the challenge.   Fun to hit sand but as Don found out too hard to run in 2wd.   He got stuck good.  Myself and Ty had already got up and over and moved up to a higher spot expecting all to follow.  Radio chatter proved what was the delay.  Don needed help so Larry and Bill went back for the rescue.   It took a few tugs with Don’s Yankum kinetic rope but once he realized the problem and shifted into 4hi he popped right over.   

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The crisis tended to we started moving again noting the dark cloud is getting closer.   Efforts are stepped up to find a spot to camp at.   The track was dead straight and I could see a corral a ways out.  

 

It was big enough for all.  Pretty basic but It did have a great view of the Henry mountains.   

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The rain blew through quickly and didn’t make the mess it did the night before.   I cooked up some Marinated flank steak for another run of tacos.   

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Again amazing with the fresh salsa and roasted chilies.  

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The drone went up again for more shots.  I caught Ty and Jody out for a walk.

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Good camp shots.  

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Looking back on the Henry’s.

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#13 Zoomad

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 03:17 AM

The stargazing was peak at this camp with less clouds and stellar views.   It was a great way to cap a good day on the trail.   

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More night shots. 

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Sleep came easy this night.  A long day, but a good one.   


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#14 craig333

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 04:18 AM

Thanks for the trip report. Looks like a good time.


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#15 Zoomad

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 05:26 PM

Thanks for the trip report. Looks like a good time.


You’re welcome. Still got more to write up. It’s not done yet.
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#16 goinoregon

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Posted 18 July 2022 - 05:22 PM

great report. good team


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#17 Zoomad

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Posted 19 July 2022 - 04:02 AM

Day 4 

 

We woke up to another great morning at the cow corral.   As we go through our morning chores Larry had some unfinished business with a tablet  he was going to use for his navigation on the trip.  He had all his maps loaded with my tracks and the morning we left it would not turn on.  Attempts were made to revive it but frustration won out and Larry advised we were going to go “office space” on it at some point on the trip.   That point was now.  

 

Bill pulled out a sweet little “pistol” and Larry set the target out in the dirt.  It still didn’t power up after it had a few .223 sized holes punched in it.   Larry was satisfied and we finished packing up to move out again.   

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Larry getting his caffeine fix. 

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The trail cut back to the east to a nice overlook point of the canyon cut by the Dirty Devil river.   

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Much to our surprise Larry zoomed in on the map on his phone to find it was indeed named “Larry’s Canyon”.   

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Pretty cool, though Don did quip it was a bit shallow.    We took in the sights and stretched out a little before taking off again.   

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That’s a wellhead poking up out of the ground there.

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The trail points us back at the Henry’s again. 

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The next target trail was only a mile or two down the highway from where this one ended.  

 

Poison Spring Canyon was the next to hit.  It was funny to compare notes as Larry, Ty and Jody, our buddy Ian and myself hit this trail two years ago.  Don had realized he was on it also that year with another guy after we split up the large group after Reds canyon.   They were probably no more than an hour or two behind us that time.  

 

The trail starts into another little canyon. 

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Now this is my opinion, but Poison Spring Canyon is the coolest and most picturesque way to get to Canyonlands.  It’s very similar to the Grand Canyon but the key thing is you can drive it.  From one side down to the Dirty Devil River and back to the other side.   It’s a place where you really can’t have a bad view or take a bad picture.  

 

The trail drops into the first of three distinct separate canyons.  The first being the tightest of all.    It’s another dry wash but since far the weather is clear for the area.   The wash seems much more rocky than last time. 

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 I think the blow sand was washed out by the previous flash flooding in the canyon.  Travel through it is slower but it just gives us longer to enjoy the view.   

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Eventually I find a shady spot in the canyon to have lunch.  

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***Continued 


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#18 Zoomad

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Posted 19 July 2022 - 04:03 AM

 With our bellies fueled up we took back off.   I came into an oasis with leafy cottonwoods and water.   I was pretty far ahead so I stopped for a soak with my feet to cool off.  Maybe take a pic or two. 

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Same canyon, slightly different spot two years earlier, truck is slightly different too:

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I won’t lie I almost went all the way in by accident.  I walked behind the truck and found the tire ruts were a solid foot deeper than up front.  Stepped into the rut and kept going when my foot didn’t hit bottom where I thought it would. 

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 Given the heat I probably would have been dry in minutes but the water was more like chocolate milk and full of bugs.  I let the guys catch up and we take back off again.  

 

Eventually we spill out into the next larger canyon.  

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That one leads to a really steep decent into the main canyon.  

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The improved granny gear on my truck was making short work of the steep downhill runs.   

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We make it to the Dirty Devil river crossing.   I park on the bank and immediately walk out in the river to check the depth and cool off.   

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Again, the water is fitting of the name as it’s brown.  Two years ago the depth was barely to my ankle.  Now it’s darn near to my knee at it’s deepest.  

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 Looking at the banks showed a much higher level and zero evidence of any recent crossing.   This was going to be fun.  

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The entry to the river is pretty shallow and at a low angle.  The exit  goes up quickly and the bank was really soft and gooey.  Crossing the river itself was easy as it had a firm rocky bottom.  I squared up to the bank and fed it some beans.   I got the front tires up the bank but the rears were in a hole and felt like they needed to get over a hump.  

 

I backed down for another shot and I noticed the ruts I created close up due to the firm pudding-like mud.  In the end it took four runs at it to pave the way and pop over the bank.   The rest cruise right up the bank that I paved the way for them.  I park up from the bank to give everybody room and come back to take pics of the rest crossing.   I figured they would wait for me.  They must not have got the memo because I barely caught them.  Here’s Ty getting up the bank. 

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Don’s turn:

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****Continued

 


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#19 Zoomad

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Posted 19 July 2022 - 04:04 AM

The long climb up and out of the canyon begins right away.   We wind up and around as we go.   With each switchback we climb the river below gets smaller and smaller again.   52190803321_31497ce014_b.jpg

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The views are so epic it’s almost a distraction.   This section is a shelf so there’s a good risk to going over if you aren’t paying attention.   So it’s best to stop and snap pics rather than driving and taking pics at the same time.   Pictures like this take me back to childhood playing with Hotwheels in the dirt having an imaginary adventure. 

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Same trucks, just from below instead of above.  

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I got to a great spot to take a group shot when some smart guy (Larry) recommended to send the drone out and take the pics that way.

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   I’ve got a  grand total of maybe 30 minutes flight time with fairly calm winds and there’s a definite added risk off of the side of a canyon and the winds were higher than I’ve had flown in yet.   I only get it a few feet off the trail and you can see the drone is struggling to stay stable.   So I take it higher and fly out over the edge, because I’m smart that way.   I fumble around and click off a couple of pics and barely record video as the drone is now dropping below the trail with a strong downdraft negating the upward thrust I give it.  

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 Not quite full panic mode I keep giving it throttle to climb.  It barely crests the trail side and get the drone over the trail and get it on the ground.   Whew.   

 

Moving on, the trail gets to a point it winds along the base of a large butte. In and out of individual fingers of the larger canyon. 

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We are spending just and much time going north and south as we make an easterly heading to the climb out.   

 

It’s pretty cool to note that outside of the volunteer park ranger we passed on the trail on day two we haven’t passed anybody else all week.  That’s partially by design heading into this area in June when it’s hot as hell.  Plus weekdays limit the weekend warriors.   

 

I happened see a white Jeep Rubicon coming at me.  I think are streak got broken.   He pulled to the side to let me pass and I stop to see it’s a park ranger from Canyonlands national park.  He asked where we were going and how the river crossing was.   He was heading this way to warn anybody of the continued threat of flash flooding in the forecast.   He was headed back to the highway and appreciated our report on how the crossing was.  He said all that rain that flooded Capitol Reef all drains into the Dirty Devil river.  The park service has a flow gauge at the crossing and they measured 1,200 cubic feet per minute.  As in a lot of water.   We got lucky it was low enough to cross.  

 

The Ranger was cool to talk to.  He waited for everyone to pass before proceeding.  

 

It was about then I could see more dark clouds to the west and we didn’t want to make it to the final climb if it was wet. 52199446963_ab8c113564_b.jpg

The climb drops right back down the other side.  Steep too. 

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The campsite isn’t much further and we make it there well before the storm. 

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Happy hour before dinner was well earned..

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We had enough time to cook up some great steaks and pasta for dinner.   Bills grill didn’t seem to have a big enough flame to cook right so we took the regulator apart to find out why.  The oriface on the inlet side was too restrictive so we opened it up a little.  Bingo. Good flame.   Bill cooked the steak while I cooked up the pasta.   It was yummy as usual and we hung out again until dark.  

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***Continued


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#20 Zoomad

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Posted 19 July 2022 - 04:06 AM

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Socked in with clouds, no stargazing was done on this night.  We had a little rain come but nothing really worth worrying about. 

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One last day out after this one. The next days adventure has us heading south.


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