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Trip Report-Utah Desert-shattering an old record.

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  • kesscokim
    Iron Wash, San Rafael Swell, February 4-5 2005 The weather forecast was good, and it was time to leave my buried in snow town for some sun and desert.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2006
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      Iron Wash, San Rafael Swell, February 4-5 2005

      The weather forecast was good, and it was time to leave my buried in
      snow town for some sun and desert. Three year old Kessler was
      ready for some exploring as well and desperately wanted to get
      outside. The San Rafael Swell seemed like a good choice.

      I had wanted to explore Iron Wash and Lone Man Draw to the Cedar
      Mesa Sandstone to see if there was a slot. I also wanted to
      hike Iron wash through the Reef since I haven't done it before.
      Having already explored Ernie Canyon and Upper Iron Wash (the
      technical section), I wanted to explore the rest of Iron and Lone
      Man to complete the series. It would be a long hike for Kessler in
      two days, but I didn't bother to measure it on the map.

      After driving down Thursday night, we were ready to start early the
      next morning. Iron Wash was scenic and spectacular with high red
      rock walls, as it cut through the Reef and was a pleasant walk.
      The main difficulty was the slippery ice in the shaded sections.
      There was a bit of snow as well, but it wasn't a problem. We
      made the first four miles to Lone Man Draw in 2.5 hours, which was
      much quicker than expected. Lone Man Draw looked pretty dry, and
      since Iron Wash had a nice creek at this point, and some inviting
      campsites, we decided to drop the packs here and day hike the rest
      of the canyon. It would be a long day however, if we could make
      it. After a nice lunch, we hiked up Lone Man Draw was open,
      sunny, and pleasant since it faces south. After hiking a couple
      of hours, we stopped for a rest near where the canyon cuts through
      the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. There was a shallow slot, but it
      doesn't look as deep as the one in the main fork. We had made
      it with time to spare. Since we had time, and since Kessler
      wanted more, we climbed up the slopes to the east for a peek into
      the canyon. We climbed several hundred feet to a nice and high
      overlook, where we "discovered" a nice (presumably) Fremont Indian
      Ruin. It was right on top of a butte. There is no water up
      here, so it must have been a winter campsite where one can look for
      miles in all directions. We continued up to another point with
      fine views. We had made it much farther than expected, and it
      was time to go back.

      We reached the edge of a canyon and Kessler wanted to explore it.
      I had wanted to take the faster rim walk, but he wanted to go down
      the canyon. It was a rugged scramble in and there was an eight
      foot cliff to get over. Luckily, I brought a short rope to lower
      Kessler down. There was a shallow Chinle slot that Kessler like
      to hike through. After reaching the main Lone Man Draw we headed
      back to camp arriving not long before sunset. It was a long
      day. It was getting cold, so we built a nice driftwood fire in
      the wash bottom (so it would wash away with the next rains).
      Kessler was tired and asked to go to bed after dinner. I told him
      it was a long hike today. He agreed and asked "Daddy, are you
      proud of your buddy?" Obviously I was.

      The next morning was 19 degrees, so I started the fire with some
      small sticks so Kessler could sit by it while eating breakfast.
      We quickly ate and decided to hike up Iron Wash to the slot since we
      still had time. We walked up to the slot with the huge pools of
      water. They were all covered with ice. We left the main
      drainage and hiked a side canyon so we could peer into the slot.
      Kessler wanted to see the slot his daddy hiked down before he was
      After some exploring, we ate lunch and headed back to camp. Camp
      was packed up, and we started back for the car. The last four
      miles were long because Kessler said his feet were sore. We
      hiked a little slower and reached the car very tired. It was a
      six-hour drive back home. On the way back, Kessler asked "Daddy
      can we hike those canyons again sometime?"

      After reaching home, I had wanted to measure (on the computer) our
      distance covered because I was curious if Kessler might have broke
      his record of eight miles in one day set last September on Marsh
      Peak. I measured our first day distance and was astounded. I
      had to measure it again because it seemed too much. The figure
      was the same. We had covered just over 12 miles the first
      day! Kessler had shattered his old record. It was all trail-
      less walking as well, and some of it quite rugged. Day two was
      10 miles, quite impressive as well for a three year old. We had
      covered 22 miles in two days. Kessler was very proud of himself,
      and I was too. He excitedly told his mom that he hiked 22
      miles. We ate a few popsicles before going to bed. I wonder
      what our next adventure will be?
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