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Owl Creek - Fish Creek Loop
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mini location map2012-11-06
41 by photographer avatarsneakySASQUATCH
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Owl Creek - Fish Creek LoopSoutheast, UT
Southeast, UT
Hiking23.96 Miles 2,931 AEG
Hiking23.96 Miles
2,931 ft AEG22 LBS Pack
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Up at 2:30am out the door 3am. At the trail head by between 9 and 10. I opted to do this down Fish and up Owl. Most people including the Rangers recommend doing it the opposite direction. There is a down climb that some people may require rope to lower their pack to get into Fish. also, when I called the Rangers they said there was plenty of water flowing in Owl, but made no mention of water in Fish. I also read that it can be difficult to find the trail out of Fish which as I mentioned in the description has been fixed with a sign pointing which way the trail goes to exit. Water was pretty abundant in Fish as well and I could have climbed into fish with a lot less weight had I known this. Live and learn. The trail is well cairned going in and pretty easy to follow in Fish because the canyon is narrow. Scenery is great with some ruins and natural unnamed arches if you keep your tomatoes peeled. I found a place to camp and explored down canyon to McCloyd. I will be going to back at some point to explore the entire Fish Canyon and McCloyd probably getting there and camping on the rim the night before when there is more daylight for exploring. Plus I've already Tibbered both canyons so the travel down and out will be much quicker.

Some night photography and dinner. This has got to be the quietest canyon I've ever been in. It was so quiet I could hear my heart beating in my ear. It got quite a bit colder than forecast and I woke to a slushy drink. Happy with the performance of my new quilt which I'm still experimenting, but the Hennessy winter kit has to go. I would have froze were it not for my quilt. Hopefully, Santa will get me a locally made under quilt although I've been looking into making one so we'll see.

I woke to the sounds of an Owl and figured that was appropriate. I hooted back and after a couple minutes there was two conversing. I decided not knowing what I was saying in Owlese that I should quit while I'm ahead. :D Packed up ate breakfast and was off toward Owl. Scenery was even better in this canyon with lots of nice spots for hammocks or tents right above the confluence. There was even a spot with a pretty nice abandoned sleeping bag in case you forget yours. :sl: Nevilles Arch was very impressive and there are a couple more lesser ones as well. I counted several of the dwellings including the ones I went up to that are within a couple of miles of the arch. A lot of the dwellings are easy to miss if you don't know where to look or are used to scanning while you hike. Binoculars help with confirmation as most are up high in this canyon because they were farming above the rim. Lower Fish has several that are in the canyon because it is much wider and farming was done in the canyon. Hope to go back and visit those at a later date.

Scoped a set with binoculars could see a unique pictograph. Even though everything I've read says they are unreachable I thought. "This is doable" In the end I was right, but I put myself in a needlessly stupid position that I'm happy turned out OK. I dropped the pack and started up my chosen route. I navigated up the log I'm sure JJIII put there and got to a stack of rocks below a sloping sandstone bulge. Couldn't get a handhold at this point and tried several different spots. Found another stack of rocks around the corner which I got up to the next level. I knew I could get back down. The next wave had some trees so I climbed a tree to get to the ledge and shimmied up the next wave at that point I was stuck. I couldn't get above and I couldn't get down the way I came because it was to slick and I was born with short limbs. :o :scared: Needless to say I couldn't go up either. In fact that is when I saw two bolts above me pounded into the sandstone (illegal in Cedar Mesa), but I couldn't use them to get above. I traversed as good as I could to try and find another way down, but couldn't find one. :scared: :scared: I did however, find a route up and thought maybe I could find another way around after looking at the ruins. No luck! I weighed my options and headed back down and got to the point where I was stuck. I decided I was going to probably get hurt and chose sitting on my butt, using my bare hands and shoes as extra friction to slide down a pour over to the right of the trees I came up. The drop after it becomes vertical I'd estimate at about 10' with an area about 4-5' of smooth landing before it sloped down again. I started the committed point of the slide and made it over landing on my feet. The hands got exfoliated and I didn't seem to have any damage probably due to the adrenaline. (When I got home I realized both my forefoot pads (Necessary for midfoot strikers seemed to be sore and bruised) :-({|=. I found another route down cracks rather than face any of that front side rolling sandstone. I continued on the hike and it took quite awhile for the adrenaline dump.

There are several pools that have to be navigated around going up through Owl and the scenery is spectacular :FG:. Be careful not to follow cairned routes into adjacent canyons when going around these pools and dry falls. This is where the route finding and orienteering will come in handy.
What I like most about this loop was the fact that although I read up and researched this hike there is cool scenery, ruins, etc. around every bend in the canyon. It truly has something for everyone. Ruins, Geology, Scenery, Falls, Arches, Pools! I'll be Back!
 Flora [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Cottonwood
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Moki Dugway  Nevills Arch
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