Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dark Canyon backpacking

Morning view
Morning view
Christine and I took a long weekend to do some camping in Utah. We started our trip with a little drive through the rain and snow to Moab, Utah. Stopping in Moab was a last minute decision, and all of the camp sites close to town we saw along the way were full. It's a popular time of year to go to Moab (before it gets blazing hot) and there was also a XTERRA triathlon that weekend. Gearheads to the rescue. We stopped in this excellent gear shop to pick up map, and they recommended a BLM area down the road for some free camp sites. We found a spot and it worked out great.

The next morning we packed up and headed out. Our trailhead was near Natural Bridges National Monument so we decided to do a quick drive through there and check things out. We would have done some hiking there, but they don't allow dogs on anywhere except the paved trails at the scenic overlooks. Our national institutions are taxonomically racist. :)
Scorup cabin at sunset
Scorup cabin at sunset
Our hike took us into the Dark Canyon Wilderness, from The Notch down to an old cabin. It's a bit of a shock to the knees to start the hiking season with a mile of downhill, but we stopped frequently to stretch and things were mostly good once we reached the floor of the canyon. The trail was pretty well defined for the first couple miles, but then it became faint and it was more a matter of bushwhacking along a small creek. It was slow going and tiring, but eventually made it to our destination: Scorup Cabin. The cabin is part of a cowboy camp that dates back to the 1930's.

We found a great camping spot near the cabin and next to the nearby stream, where we sat and soaked our feet in the cool water. It was really a nice place to hang, and best of all there was nobody else there. In fact, we didn't see anyone else from the time we parked the car at the trailhead until the time we got back.

Our original plan was to hang down in the canyon the next day and explore the area, but with the amount of time it took to make the hike down we decided that we should just only stay one night so we didn't have to hike out and drive all the way home in one day. We spent the next morning lazily lounging about camp before packing up and heading out.

Once out of the canyon, it was already late afternoon so we decided to drive back to Moab and camp again. We camped at the same BLM area, and this time the rest of the place was vacant. Ah, solitude once again. We sat in the back of the wagon and drank some beers while we cooked up some dinner. A great way to end the weekend.

Sometime last year Kuzca finally figured out that she gets baths after backpacking, and she'd refuse to get out of the car. We pulled a quick one on her this time and drove directly to a dog washing place. Here she is "recovering" on the couch from her bath.

Kuzca recovering after her bath

More pictures here.

Scorup barn at sunset