Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ride 4 - Canyonlands of Gold Butte

An all-but-neglected ride near Mesquite Snowbird Headquarters is Canyonlands of Gold Butte. I haven't yet met anyone who seems to know about it (or admits it), let alone having visted it. [A full Google Earth file is located here -->   Canyonlands of Gold Butte]

The problem is that everyone is zooming by so fast in order to get down to the "good stuff" on the butte, that the area is barely noticed, more than "that's pretty, I wonder what's up there."

We found out today when we got a late start and didn't have but a half-day to ride. It is "real pretty". The trailhead is next to the virgin river and has a trail that does run down by it for a little ways. Unfortunately, it stops at the base of a cliff, blocked by heavy thicket.

On the other side you can pick any one of three canyons, all of them have steep high cliffs the same color as most of the rocks around here.

One canyon has many, many angles such that you really feel you are going a great distance. If it weren't for the occasional cow, one could think he was the first to discover it.

One trail led up a steep incline which eventually got too steep for my 2-wheel drive machine.

And yet another canyon led up to a box canyon with an odd looking cliff face. When we got up close the face was an obvious patina of clay-like mud. It has apparently washed over the cliff above to cover the rock with a 1-2 inch crust which can be carved upon. And it has been.

There are autographs all over the face - hence "Autograph Cliffs". Some looking like they were written before a new wash of patina came down on them. There are one or two persons who have obviously been there several times. And at least one who was an Egyptian - or thought they were.

A unique aspect of this area is that the emense, sheer wall is recessed into an alcove and there is a large fire-ring surrounded by old sofa's. It looks like a comfortable "media-center" of sorts.

Something like that should probably be well-known, at least to the high school kids of the area. However, none of the boys at church are admitting it!


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