Page, Arizona (Hoodoos) and Moab, Utah (Covert Arch)


Above.  Tower of Silence (left); lace rock in the Edmaier’s Secret area (right).

We have come to quite enjoy the varied hiking around Page. This trip did not disappoint!

Oct. 22, 2018, Monday. Joan and I drive to Grand Junction in afternoon.

Oct. 23.  To Page via Moab. On arrival our rooms were not ready, so we and Elaine and Bill Belvin decided on a small hike. The Cottonwood Road was closed due to washout, so we went to the Rimrock Hoodoos via the small parking area just opposite the Paria Contact Station. We went through a little rough section (it is best to avoid the small canyon and follow the footpath up the small ridge between two canyons), and I was the only one who carried on to the spectacular white hoodoos (Entrada sandstone under Dakota). The Belvins went there again on Friday, as it is a great photography spot.

Oct. 24.  To Edmaier's Secret, an area of Navajo sandstone off the Buckskin Gulch trail. This area is becoming somewhat well known and there were a couple parties near us. We left the Buckskin trail at about 1.5 miles and wandered around the wonderful shapes of Navajo sandstone up to the little summit. There was a decent amount of water in the pools, and the general recent moisture made the walking nice. While the various Navajo sandstone features were nice, the clear winner of the day was a section of lace rock far larger than any such thing I have seen before.

Oct. 25.  Bill, Elaine, and I drove about three miles on the Cottonwood Road (there was a serious washout farther along, but we had no problem on our short stretch) and then entered the phenomenal Toadstool Forest, which is a mile south of the road and 250 feet below the rim. There was a vast number of superb and varied toadstools. It seems just possible that one could connect from this area to the Rimrock Hoodoos of Tuesday, but it would involve some steep terrain. I wandered all over the rim finding hoodoos everywhere. Added: Bill did find a report on the web indicating that there is a route connecting the Toadstool Forest to the Rimrock Hoodoos. I think the point isn’t so much to get from one to the other, since they are both easily accessed from the standard approaches. Rather it is whether such a route would take one through some interesting terrain.

Oct. 26.  I went solo to the Wahweap Hoodoos. The drive was fine and the hike flat and fast. It took me only 75 minutes (walking fast; no running) to get to the Tower of Silence, a distance of about 4.4 miles. What an amazing place. The Tower is in the farthest group and its position is superb, thanks to the surrounding eroded dunes of Entrada sandstone. And the recent rains meant that the walking surface was generally quite good. I spent about an hour taking pictures and then returned at a leisurely pace. I developed a heel blister as I approached the Tower, but had the materials to deal with it. These striking towers are caused by the soft Entrada layer under the harder Dakota layer. What is interesting is that there is about 60 million years missing, as that is the amount of time between the late Entrada and early Dakota. Usually there is a layer of the Morrison formation, and others. The total trip for me was 9.66 miles. The return was a bit shorter as I knew more about the route.

At the trailhead there was a very unusual vehicle: a European RV with high clearance and Swiss plates. What is remarkable is that I saw this same vehicle at a nearby trailhead two years ago.

Oct. 27.  Drive to Moab via Kayenta, Bluff, Blanding.

Oct. 28.  Mike and Ellyn Johnson joined us for the long drive via the Yellowcat Road to the Winter Camp Ridge parking area. From there we went to Covert Arch, which is spectacular. On return, Mike and I descended a class 3 gully to the bottom and explored in both directions, getting downstream far enough to see Covert Arch above us. The gully descent involved steep sand, but was not difficult; about 300 feet vertical. After that we all went to La Boca Arch, and then returned to the interstate and, for us, the four-hour drive home.  What was interesting about Mike's and my exploration is that it took us to an area that marks the end of two technical canyons: MMI Canyon, and Lost and Found (aka Undercover) Canyon. The standard exit from these popular technical descents is to climb a very exposed slab to the rim, between Covert Arch and our gully. But our gully, though strenuous and steep, is not really difficult (class 3) and not at all exposed. The climb to the rum took only 20 minutes, and it appears to be a fine route connecting the rim to the canyon floor.

Photos below.

Rimrock Hoodoos

Edmaier’s Secret

The Toadstool Forest from Cottonwood Road

Wahweap Hoodoos

Covert and La Boca Arches

Created with the Wolfram Language