Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Trails to You

 Cedar Mesa, Utah

We are covered with dust. The dust rises in a fine, red volcanic-like cloud whenever one of us moves. We haven't had showers for five days. Disgustingly dirty comes to mind. And Thistle? Beyond disgustingly dirty.

We are driving the backroads of Utah looking for hikes to take us to ancient cliff dwellings. The ruins are often a mile to several miles up canyons. They are built on south-facing walls, under deep rock overhangs, near springs. "Look, perhaps up there...up there in that 'mouth'."

Our roads of access to the canyons are single-lane, dusty and washboard bumpy. Thistle bounces about like a poorly gaited horse.

These explorations up the canyons turn, not just the dog, but all three of us into gleeful puppies. The wild dramatic mesa and the treasure-hunt of finding cliff dwellings, gets our blood pumping. Unfortunately, my ankle is giving out before my enthusiasm. Darn ankle! We slow down but we don't stop. Next, the Mule Ruins, right along Scenic Route 95.

Followed by a six mile hike up the South Mule Canyon where we see three cliff dwellings. We skip the North Mule Canyon hike, a concession to my ankle.

From there we find Butler Wash Road, along Comb Ridge. Butler Road is a 20 mile stretch with canyons to explore between every tooth of the comb. After driving seven slow, jar-to-the-bone miles, we boondock for the night. This is perhaps the first night in my life where I see no lights. Far off into the distance, nothing! Lots and lots of stars and dark!

In the morning we hike into Cool Springs Canyon, finding three ancient cliff dwelling sites.

And guess what else we find? Phil! Flagstaff-Whidbey Island Phil. We knew he was on Cedar Mesa hiking and camping, but not exactly where since we'd missed a couple of "check points". Then, most unexpectedly, after our Cool Springs hike, we pulled into the Monarch Cave trailhead parking lot for lunch, and there was his truck. We waited. We were rewarded!

Sand Hill Petroglyphs, to top the day off.

We're satiated and tired! All this seeking out of cliff dwellings; hiking intriguing canyons; pondering petroglyphs; bouncing along bumpy roads; and being wowed again and again with dramatic views, has worn us out.

Laundry, showers, dinner, and the day is done.


"Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
 Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again." *

Roy Rogers

* When Ed was five he wanted to be Roy Rogers. He insisted his mom call him Roy.


  1. What a stunning collection of photos of that wonderful part of Utah. Makes me wish
    I was there again. Have a GREAT time!!!'

    1. The scenery makes a decent photographer out of even the most amateur of us.