Spring 2018 Desert Road Trip: Part Three

Spires and cliffs in Valley of the Gods, Utah
Desert Broom in Valley of the Gods, Utah

After a very windy night in Valley of the Gods I awoke to a beautiful morning This is the first time that I had driven all the way through the valley and I was amazed at how beautiful it is with it's delicate sandstone rock formations. It was primarily a way stop for me on this trip, as I wanted to get back on top of the plateau where the following day I would be backpacking into the Grand Gulch area for a night, so after some morning shooting I headed out of the valley. After stopping in the little town of Mexican Hat to get some supplies I headed north again up the (drum-roll) Moki Dugway.


View from the top of the Dugway. Hwy 261 is on the right.            

Why the dramatic buildup? The Dugway is a dirt section of the highway heading up from Mexican Hat to the Grand Gulch area that climbs up the rock cliffs in a series of very tight switchback turns. The turns are so sharp at certain points that they are almost on top of each other. It's kind of like going up a set of stairs in your car. I always enjoy driving this road. It's an adventure all in itself, and the view from the top is totally worth it.


Sunset viewed from the rim of the plateau
Starry sky above and the lights of Mexican Hat and Monument Valley    


I camped that evening on the top of the plateau overlooking the valley and canyons of the Glen Canyon Recreation Area below. It's a stunning overlook. Having an easier day after all the hiking of the previous two afforded me a chance to rest up to get ready for my overnight backpacking trip the following day.







The next day I awoke early and, after a little bit of morning photography, headed to the Kane Gulch ranger station again where I began my overnight trip into the Grand Gulch area. It was an easy hike down into the canyon and I was soon rewarded by the first set of ruins
Small ruin tucked away in a rock overhang

One of the more striking ones was a small, very well preserved ruin (probably a grainery) tucked neatly into the rock overhang.












Red hands on sandstone wall

I soon came to some more ruins that were not on my map. They were in poor condition overall, but I was treated to some really nice hand petroglyphs on the rock walls surrounding them. I soon discovered that there were many ruins not on the map. As I've said before, this area of southern Utah is a living museum. There are probably relics and rock-art hidden in back canyons that few have ever seen.

This concludes this portion of my spring desert trip. From here on I headed south into Arizona an visited family and attended a photography seminar. Stay tuned for more adventures!