Friday, May 4, 2012

Offroad: Red Hollow Arch Trails

This is a rather unique post in that it had its origins in an email with a question: "I'm an offroader who loves to travel in mountains with my group on our my bikes and am wondering if there is a 'best way' to get to Red Hollow Arch in southern Utah," or words real close to this.

He went on to say that he was able to see the place on Google Earth, and several trails – at least what looked like trails; but, wanted to begin in Beaver Dam and travel to the arch from Arizona. He wondered if any reader had been there and submitted a recent trail.

Well, I was glad to help; but, there was one problem: I personally had never heard of Red Hollow Arch so didn't have a clue where he was talking about!

So, before I give you the free trail map that I've created for Red Hollow Arch, I'd thought you'd might like to know how I go about locating a place unknown to me.

How To Find An Unknown Place On The Map

First, I usually start with merely typing in the name of the place right inside the Google Earth search bar. [top left] Unfortunately, there is a technique to this: remember that Google lives to inflict ADVERTISING on you so that is how everything is designed. You'll get commercial ventures and nonsense from everywhere; so, you need to be very specific: "Utah, red hollow arch" - got me architects.

And what is pathetic, their new "updated" version lets you do everything with their results EXCEPT delete them - you can't even easily close the window! (must manually click and drag it closed.) However, occasionally you can see some entries that trigger further search.

Second, just use a normal search bar. With the recent crap Google has made about sharing all of our information - I've dumped them entirely and switched to Bing as my search preference. However, you can use whichever you please. It's simply incredible what is already on the web about places; although, you still often need to "drill down" and be specific, or you'll be overloaded with crap.

You also must realize that search engines also have their own agendas and think THEY know better than YOU what you want. Typing "Utah Red Hollow Arch" gets you entries by Orderville and Tropic and even Moab. None of these are even close to Beaver Dam, where he wanted to start.

In this case, following one of the promising bottom entries, a photo on "weatherunderground" by Schwartz, showed a photo of an arch located by Motoqua - A place I DID know about, which was near Beaver Dam and in Southern Utah and is most likely the place I am looking for.

Another trick I've learned: if you put quotes around a term - it searches for an exact match of those words and doesn't match anything else. I used Utah "Red Hollow Arch" and got the previous result plus one other, which was useless except that it said: "by St. George" so at least we know there is such a place… just not where.

Third, you can try a search on Panoramio. And, as usual, there is a trick to using that as well! Unless the place is an official address, using the search bar won't find anything. It apparently does NOT search in the titles applied to the photos, nor the tags - and you probably couldn't count on them if it did.

If you know the approximate location, you can search for that; then do a brute force scan of all the available images to see if one is entitled "Red Hollow Arch" or something like that. In this case, I DID navigate to southern Utah, find Beaver Dam, then St. George and then Motoqua.

The thing is that: Panoramio does not reveal all the photos in the area at first, so you need to keep zooming in closer in order to get other photos to show up. When I did that, I found a photo "Red Hollow Arch" by Lynn Sessions, a well-known photographer who has been all around Utah photographing arches and every listed town (no kidding).

Panoramio photographs ARE geocoded so you now know an approximate location on the map for the arch – if the photographer bothered to code it correctly – which Lynn usually does.

Red Hollow Arch

Once I knew the approximate location it was just a matter of searching the Offroading Home map archives for trails in the area and, as it turns out, there were at least two fairly recent submissions.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail File Offroading Home: Red Hollow Arch.]

The first issue is the desired starting point: Beaver Dam [red area at the bottom of the graphic]. Last year they could have made the trip BUT this year they have the idiocy from the Utah BLM field office to contend with – yet another wilderness area!

What makes this a complete travesty is that: It's A Wash Guys! Beaver Dam Wash is open above the Utah portion in Nevada, and Below the Utah portion in Arizona; and is the ONLY route available to one of Utah's landmarks: Initial Monument, the first state boundary.

To stage at Beaver Dam, you now must run up the wash to near the border, take "the Snake" westward and circumnavigate the entire wilderness area past "Three Corners," along the Powerline Road, down into and across the wash at the mountains and up to Lytle Ranch Road. A more convenient staging area would be at Lytle Ranch Road itself, as given on the accompanying free map.

Offroading Home had two trails already submitted which run into the area. One staging at Lytle Ranch Road and the other along old US-91 near Gunlock. Both of these trails were ridden in the last couple of years by Gordon and Hugh who were going to the Bull Run Mine from two different directions.

There are two trails that I can see on satellite images which lead from known tracks into Red Hollow – where the photographs we found are located. I've hand-drawn both of them in orange on the map. One comes from the west, the other from the south.

To get to the arch, you will need to hike the last portion of the trail. Additionally, if you take this trail to see the arch, I would appreciate receiving a GPS track and/or photos to update our tracks and share with others.


BillionJ said...

Do you have coordinates for the arch please? Thank you very much!

D J said...

@BillionJ... This article you've commented on is all about how YOU can go about finding information on the web YOURSELF when you don't know a location or photo or have a map. I wrote it several years ago because I had a comment from an irate reader who found himself in a position (just like you were in) where he didn't have a geo-location and felt that it was MY job to feed it to him and I had been terribly incompetent because I didn't read his mind and have everything at his finger tips which cost him his "valuable" time. I only mention that because when you find yourself (just like I do) without a clue how to get somewhere or in need of geo-information it's not always obvious where you should look when you need it "now."

That said, i'm happy to oblige with what info I have, but these days I don't have the where-with-all or time to do much research for people and I don't sit by my computer waiting for mail (like I used to). In this case, your plight brings (yet again) to my mind the crap-hole that I'm in now that Dropbox has screwed up all the links to every map I've made over these 5 years. That means when you follow the links on my site to valid resource pages you get a stupid message that it's no longer on dropbox - when it is, but they're just too lazy to forward you to the arbitrary new location they've filed it under. Just now, I've taken all the steps to create a new link to their new location, go back and change the links on my blogger map pages and re-load the page back to the web. The LINK should now work-keeping in mind that the actual map opening inside Google earth also uses assets I used to keep on dropbox which no longer work. So, what I'm saying is that the link to obtain the map on my page works now (the one link to this arch) in the middle of the whole page of others that DON'T work, but when you open it up inside Google Earth, other parts of the descriptions etc. may not show up. The coordinates, however, SHOULD still be obvious.

D J said...

@BillionJ... (late note) I've actually gone back and updated the entire map so that it displays just as it did when originally produced (before dropbox fouled out). But note: it's just this one trail--out of hundreds produced over that last 10 years.

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