This is not a great hike but an all around great experience. There is a little road that takes off between the Colorado and Dirty Devil River Bridges near Hite Utah off UT hwy 95. The road heads into the area of the Glen Canyon NRA known as the Orange Cliffs; it is also a long and scenic way to the Maze District of Canyonlands. I have driven this road several times, my eyes appreciating the scenery, but my mind on the prize ahead. This time my destination was a lonely mesa promising stunning overviews of the Dirty Devil river land, which I love and know a little, the San Rafael Swell, same, and Lake Powell.
Driving in the large and strange buttes and other rock forms I call the candlestick and porthole ( I am sure have much grander names). Driving around these massive sandstone towers, marveling how thin some are, and how large.
About 20 miles along I take the side road into the Cove. I am slightly off the map as far as the GCNRA is concerned, and now can camp sans permit. The road goes into a neat canyon of the White Rim formation, with some very neat campsites. The best is in a little alcove area with a nice pour off just out of the back of the camp, and some privacy. I drive on up the road and scope out the hike. The cove is a large, well, cove, bounded by stunning red sandstone cliffs. The south and north block are small mesas that are connected by a thin 20 foot wide strip of sandstone. I am not interested in that.
A break in the Wingate cliffs is the only reasonable way up. Supposedly an old sheep trail of the 30's is usable. I simply walked to the end of a faint old road, then up. Followed new sheep and deer trails. At the top a couple of pitches on some short wingate cliffs and I was there. Not impressive, rolling and covered in pinyon pines. Much like the cedar mesa. I was ruin hunting. I was told of Anasazi hill top ruins, and large tanks. A place like this they might have a chance at being pretty pristine. No trails and no footprints and no cairns. There are some hiking write ups on this place but seem low priority.
As I looked over the sea of low green, I set my course for a conical rise at one end of the south mesa, the only significant feature I could see.
I made it over there, and topped out. Arranged rock work, no walls, good vantage point. I walked the large rock bench around the base. One point looking down and there was an arrowhead. I was not surprised. For as much as a month I have felt I would see one soon, and now I have.
Looking out over the vast edge I felt like I was the only person in the world. I didn't even feel like I belonged to anything. I felt all of life's demands drain away.
I walked more but did not find the ruins; I found something else, more of myself.