This winter has taken a little toll on our adventuring. We have been dying to get out and do some hiking but it has just been too dang cold and snowy. This past weekend, the weather was looking pretty warm so we planned a little Valentines getaway. We chose Horseshoe Canyon; this hike has been on our list for quite some time because it has a very impressive rock art panel.
We weren’t in a rush to get down to the canyon because it gets dark so early so we left around 4. This canyon is about half way between Hanksville and Green River. It is about a mile further than the Goblin Valley turn off. It took us about 3 and a half hours to get to the turn off; we did stop for dinner at the delicious Arby’s! Once we reached the turn off, the trail head is about 30 miles on a dirt road. Normally the road wouldn’t be that bad to drive on but there was melting snow that caused quite a bit of mud. Luckily Blake is a superb driver and I didn’t get nervous once.
There is no camping in the canyon, but you can however camp at the trailhead. We decided that this would be the best place to pitch our tent. We got to camp around 9 and got things set up quickly because it was quite chilly. We brought along a tent heater and that was probably our best idea. I tried to take a few star photos but unfortunately the stars just weren’t as bright as they are on a summer night. I got an intravelometer (for time lapse photos) for Christmas so I wanted to give it try with a time lapse and star trails. I think the time lapse turned out pretty well.
We woke up before the sun and got to watch it rise. It sure was beautiful. I also tried a time lapse for the sunrise. I’m loving trying new things with my camera. Once the sun was up and things were starting to warm up (we woke up with frost on our tent) we got ready to hit the trail. The trail begins with a quick descent into the canyon floor; once at the bottom there are no true obstacles. This made it a great hike that wasn’t at all strenuous. At the bottom, if you look to the left, there is a small panel higher up. It was hard to really see because it was so high up and too far off the trail. About another mile down the trail, there is a small panel that is quite a bit easier to see.
Half way to the Great Panel, there is a huge alcove. We hung out in the alcove for a bit because it was so cool. There is a small panel on the wall of the alcove, some ranchers have also written their names and year on the wall. Some were dated back to 1920.
About a mile and half later, we were at the Great Gallery. It was actually pretty funny because Blake and I had just said we were getting ready to see them and when we turned the corner I looked up and saw a small portion of the panel. When I saw that small portion, I showed Blake and we both were thinking that it wasn’t as big as we expected. A few trees were in the way of the rest so we were unable to see the whole panel. Once we got past the trees, we saw it all! We were both in awe at how large and how many figures there were. It is truly amazing that after thousands of years, these pictographs are still here and in great shape.