Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cedar Mesa Trip Easter Weekend 2011

Stress, how do you releave it? With one word “vacation”. Needing to get away from work for a few days, the glare of a computer screen and the wintery weather of the Wasatch front. It was time to head south to make a return trip to Cedar Mesa in SE Utah for a camping trip with a few new friends and my older brother who drove up from Wellton, Arizona.

The plan was to camp somewhere around the northern end of Comb Wash and then head out from there to various sites around the Cedar Mesa area.


The plan was to head out around 9am to head down to Cedar Mesa with the hope of meeting up with a friend and his family (Moody family) to find a place to camp. I was a little worried as we ran into construction traffic around the Spanish Fork area then again just north of I-70. To my surprise traffic though Moab wasn't to bad despite it being the Easter Jeep Safari. We ended up reaching Blanding sometime around 4pm with a quick stop to refuel and grab a few last groceries we were off to try and find Moody on Comb Wash.

As luck would have it we arrived there just shortly after Moody arrived and tailed along as we searched for an acceptable campsite. After driving around for a bit we ended camping near the north end of Comb Wash.


Who needs an alarm clock or rooster to wake you up when you have the sun. Up at 7am after a restless night. Gotta love it. After tooling around camp for a bit we headed out for our first destination to Monarch Cave but not after making a detour to check-out what we thought was a grainy which it wasn't lol.

Monarch Cave

Trail Back

View looking out from Monarch Cave

Misc. photos

After spending some time at Monarch Cave we headed back to the vehicles for lunch.

With lunch done it was time to head to out next destination - Snake House/River House ruin. I figured this would be a good site to visit since you can more or less drive right up to the ruin. Plus, it gave the Moody clan some time to rest.

When we arrived I was a little surprised to see a river rafting group there exploring the ruins only to be followed by another group 10 minutes later after this group left. I guess I kind of figured that no one would be there since the last time I visited here it was December and late in the afternoon. The solitude of that experience allow a little more time to reflect on the scene. Never the less it was still a good time.

Snake House/River House Ruin

Misc. Photos from Snake House

After leaving Snake House it was time to head back to camp to meet up with those who came into camp while we where out to join us on the next day adventure. My brother and I peeled off from the group to stop and check out the old cabin along Comb Ridge while the Moody clan headed back to camp.

Friday night the we were joined by UtahKJ (Joseph) and the Nate's. Thankfully, the wind this night was more tolerable.


Saturday morning we had a new comer to the group Davy (mesha over on RME) and his family. The plan was to meet up with some of Moody's friends who were camping just a short way down the road from us to check out the Lower Mule Canyon ruins near where they were camping.

Mule Canyon

Lower Mule Canyon Ruins set 1

Lower Mule Canyon Ruins set 2

Small pictograph panel

The plan for the afternoon was to head over the Kane Gulch ranger station to pick up a couple of permits which would allow us to hike back to the Moon House ruins. So that was the hope. To my dismay when we reached the ranger station (around noon) we were greeted by one of those lovely suction cup clocks on the door that said “Will return 3pm”. WTH, 3pm! Lets just say I was a little irked by this since the last time I was here snow had close the trail.

However, I did have a back up plan “Jailhouse Ruin”. The plan was to head up to Shierk Flats to park and to take the backway into the ruins since neither my brother nor myself felt like hiking 7 miles into Bullet Canyon. After paying the due for the day pass and checking out the map we headed out on the one trail we saw that we hoped would take us back to the site.

The trail weaved in and out of the wash and required a few descents down a rockie ledge or two. Shortly, after starting the trail we ran into the first set of ruins. These was kind of surpise to me since I didn't see these ruins on the maps that I have (time for some new maps). After checking out the ruins for a bit he headed back down the trail which at time was difficult to find but we were able to keep on the trail following the stacked rocks markers.

Yellow House Ruin

We continued to follow the trail till we reached something kind of unexpected. A Dead End!. We were stumped. The trail dead ended at a massive pour-off. One of which I think would be kind of cool to see it flowing. After an vain search to find the trail we headed back to the car for some lunch. I later learned that there are two different routes around this pour-off down into the canyon but fidning those routes are difficult.

By this time it was 4pm and wanting to explore a little more we opted to head down Snow Flat Road. Along the way we made a slight detour to the parking area for Moon House Ruin so we could view the ruin from across the canyon (I didn't see any harm in doing so). One day I'll make the hike back to it.

The trip down Snow Flat Road was a bit interesting. It's one of those roads that ya you could take a car down but you'd risk taking some possible damage or a flat tire due to the rocky sections of the road. Once at the end of the road it was back up Comb Wash and back to camp to relax.

Looking out towards Bear's Ears


The original plan for Sunday was going to take us down to a ruin site just SW of Bluff but bad weather (rain) had moved in during the night. With the gloom all round usis and off and on rain showers I decided it best not to take the group to this site. For I didn't want to get us all caught in rain storm or have someone slip and injure themselves on the rocky descent down to the ruins.

So we said our goodbyes to group and headed out. Once on the other side we were meet by a heavy downpour that didn't let up till we reached Blanding only to be the heavy rain replaced by heavy fog between Blanding and Monticello. Once we outside of Monticello the rain was hit or miss all the way to Moab. Again, I was worried about traffic coming back up to to everyone heading out from the Jeep safari but it proved to be no problem and it was smooth sailing all the way home.