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Hovenweep Hikes - 2 members in 3 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 15 2017

 Guides 27
 Routes 62
 Photos 2,620
 Triplogs 700

63 male
 Joined Jan 23 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Hovenweep HikesSoutheast, UT
Southeast, UT
Hiking avatar Oct 15 2017
Hiking5.00 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Days 12 and 13 of a 14-day run through SE Utah. Left Moab early Sunday. Try getting breakfast in Moab on a Sunday morning without standing in line. I blew it off and went to the grocery store for provisions and grabbed something there.

Drove through Blanding and turned towards the old Hatch Trading Post. It is closed now, fenced and grown up, sign says its for sale for a bit above a million. History doesn't come cheap.

Stopped off at the Cajon Group first. The seep that gave life then still seeps from the head of the canyon. No one around, silent, big views, impressive structures.

Stopped at the Visitor Center, asked about the campground hoping he'd say full and I'd have an excuse to boondock. Plenty of room. Chose site 26 for the angle between the bright sun and the little slatted shelter. Sleeping Ute Mountain was the backdrop east. Set up camp and relaxed a bit. Would be cold tonight so I grilled dinner early and tried to read until even a quilt over me couldn't make it uncomfortable. Could hear the heaters in all the RVs cycling on and off all night.

Water I'd left out was frozen in the morning. Solid. Guessing 29 as a low. Slept good though. Made two thermoses of coffee, and a quick breakfast. Hiked the Square Tower Group Loop from camp. This was a busy place in the day. Lots of fairly well preserved ruins. These guys were masons extraordinaire. Great houses, high towers, kivas, creative entrances, everyone was busy surpassing the Jones and one upping the Smiths here. Bet I can build a house on that rock over there. No you can't. Watch me.

Took Bullit for a drive to the groups north. Mostly alone out here, few souls care enough to take bumpy roads to old places, no tour buses. Horsehoe was a unique design and like the other groups there are many rock mounds of houses fallen down. Hackberry was a delight. The tree for which the unit is named still dominates the spring at canyon's head. This was a thriving little village, you can feel it. Sherds were thick, found a few painted ones as I knelt in the detritus of a proud people. The work area was down by the spring, still a pool scooped out by hands long gone frequented by the feathered and furred current inhabitants. The smoke stains on the rocks tell you so much.

I heard voices at Painted Hands, not ancient, just a woman complaining about the scramble down and her partner chirping back to just do it. I worked my hike to avoid them. Missed the delicate white hands at first, doubled back and slowed down to find them. The thought universal, this is me, I was here. These are found around the world.

The Cutthroat Castle Group was last. There are two trailheads, the upper and lower. A sign at the upper points to the lower along a rough track with admonitions of high clearance and 4WD and other discouraging comments. This was my last dirt of the trip. I shifted down and went to the lower.

The hike to the ruins from the lower is much shorter, just several hundred feet. I heard voices below, two ladies, thought erroneously they were together. I dropped in, tipped my hat and began to explore. The allowed maneuvering room is small and I could hear the conversation, mostly one sided. The more senior of the two was lamenting the unrelenting sun, the impending climb out. I moved close enough to interrupt and offered a ride, explaining the short hike and bumpy road and the fact I had removed the rear seats in my 4-door truck to save weight and add space and thus could offer only one ride. After a spell of verbal thinking she accepted. Seems she was on a solo 3-month trip with no particular destinations and no definitive end in the largish RV I'd seen at the upper trailhead.

Back in camp I grilled one last steak with some squash and beans. I'd saved the last chapter of Craig Child's Stone Desert for my last evening in camp. Both the meal and the chapter were filling, nutrition to build on. Hovenweep is about building.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
All you have is your fire...
And the place you need to reach
2 archives
Jul 06 2014

 Routes 23
 Photos 1,254
 Triplogs 122

60 male
 Joined Oct 28 2003
 Andover, NJ
Hovenweep HikesSoutheast, UT
Southeast, UT
Hiking avatar Jul 06 2014
Hiking2.00 Miles
Hiking2.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After the morning in Butler Wash, we crossed El Cajon Mesa (with a stop at the Hatch Trading Post oasis) and visited the more extensive ruins at Hovenweep. It was hot enough that we had the place mostly to ourselves. The architecture is quite distinct from the Kayenta Anasazi and Sinagua ruins we've been visiting, and the setting is very different, too.

Partway between the rim and the wash, I saw what I thought were midden ashes. The Park Service pamphlets revealed that it was actually a layer of coal. I wonder if the inhabitants used it for fuel, or for anything else.
Jul 26 2012

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Colorado Tales 2012, CO 
Colorado Tales 2012, CO
Backpack avatar Jul 26 2012
Backpack25.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Backpack25.00 Miles5 Days         
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Colorado Tales 2012

5 days
1296 miles
65 gallons of gasoline
379 digital images
1 relatively trouble-free drive
Clean, crisp mountain air
Vintage railways
Ghost towns
Choice eats and beverages (Colorado microbreweries!)
No work distractions

The Plan => Thursday 7/26 rendezvous at the Danzl residence in Sedona AZ, truck pool, and hit the road to the Danzl Colorado Cottage along the Dolores River between Dolores CO and Stoner CO in the San Juan Mountains.

My 2012 quarterly wilderness adventures have been limited to "Anza Borrego California Tales 2012" (check out => ) and "Oregon Tales 2012" (check out => ), so with X consecutive days of 100degF Valley weather, a trek to the high country seemed in order. The Colorado Rockies would certainly satisfy that requirement, so my Coyotes' season ticket co-holder, Ralph Danzl suggested his Colorado Cottage as a base camp to escape the heat. With no definitive plans, other than our base camp, we hit the road and ended up at the following destinations;

A. Ahwatukee AZ - ground zero, home
B. Sedona AZ - rendezvous at Danzl's Bell Rock Blvd. residence
C. Kayenta AZ - stop at the local Burger King
D. Monument Valley AZ/UT - first visit for the Danzl's (check out => and ... e-map.html )
E. Bluff UT - stop for gas
F. Hovenweep Ruins UT - also "Canyon of the Ancients" including Painted Hand and Lowry Pueblo (check out => )
G. Dolores CO - base camp at Danzl Colorado Cottage off Hwy 145 on Road 37 (CR36 on map)
H. Ophir Pass CO - off-roading with side treks to Crystal Lake and Lookout Peak (check out => )
I. Silverton CO - Silverton Brewery for eats (check out => )
J. Animas Forks CO - off-roading to ghost town (check out => ... as%20Forks and )
K. Durango CO - a drive on the "Million Dollar Highway" (check out => )
L. Dolores CO - Dolores River Brewery for eats (check out => ) and base camp at Danzl Colorado Cottage
M. Dunton CO - along FR535 and West Dolores River valley trekking to Lizard Head Wilderness (check out => ... wilderness )
N. Telluride CO - Smuggler Joe's MicroBrew for eats (check out => ... mmary.aspx and )
O. Rico CO - ghost town (check out => )
P. Taylor Mesa CO - wildlife spotting along FR545
Q. Dolores CO - supplies and Galloping Goose Museum (check out => ) plus base camp at Danzl Colorado Cottage
R. Mesa Verde CO - for future reference (check out => )
S. Tuba City AZ - pit stop on the road home
T. Sedona AZ - collect my wheels at the Danzl residence
U. Ahwatukee AZ - home again...

DAY 1 - Thursday 7/26
Ahwatukee AZ to Sedona AZ
129 miles
2 hrs 19 min 1-way per Google Maps

Rendezvous at the Danzl residence off Bell Rock Blvd and hit the road early morning for the Colorado mountains....

DAY 2 - Friday 7/27
Sedona AZ to Dolores CO via Monument Valley and Hovenweep Ruins
341 miles
7 hrs 17 min per Google Maps

On the road to Danzl's Colorado Cottage along the Dolores River between Dolores CO and Stoner CO with stops at Monument Valley and Hovenweep Ruins. Exited Monument Valley just as a deluge hit. With a side trip into uncharted territory (that would be Hovenweep UT, check out => ), we discover "Canyon of the Ancients" and signage for some vaguely familiar ruins (Cutthroat Castle, Painted Hand Pueblo, Lowry Pueblo, etc). I'm filing this for a future trek (check out => ... rMap-2.pdf and ). Our plans to pick up supplies in Dolores CO are thwarted by the time zone change as we arrive into town at 8pm local time only to discover all the grocery stores closed! Good thing we have some ground beef in the cooler and we're able to pick-up some buns at the local gas station. We arrive at the Danzl Cottage in a light rain. Ralph gets the water turned on while Brian and I get the old-school BBQ fired up with briquettes and mesquite chips. Burgs and beverages to put a bookend on the day...

DAY 3 - Saturday 7/28
Dolores CO to Ophir Pass to Animas Forks and Durango CO return
188 miles
5 hrs 21 min per Google Maps

Into the really high country with side treks to Crystal Lake and Lookout Peak near the crest of Ophir Pass. On to Silverton where we caught the narrow gauge railroad (check out => ) waiting to take on passengers. 4WD trekking up to Animas Forks checking out all the mining relics and ghost towns along the way. I regret not climbing up to higher vantage to snap an image of the entire Animas Forks ghost town complex - next time! Refreshments at the Silverton Brewery and off along the Million Dollar Highway to Durango CO. In Durango, we pick up steaks, fresh picked corn-on-the-cob, mushrooms, onions, etc. for an evening feast back at Danzl Cottage. Interesting light show back at the cottage as a summer monsoon rumbles through the Dolores Valley...

DAY 4 - Sunday 7/29
Dolores CO to Lizard Head Wilderness to Telluride CO to Taylor Mesa return
153 miles
4 hrs 53 min per Google Maps

More high country trekking checking out beaver dams along FR535 and the West Dolores River plus a leg stretcher into the Lizard Head Wilderness. Refreshments at Telluride Brewing Company and Smuggler Joes' Brew Pub in Telluride. Up to the Bridal Falls overlook and on the road towards Rico ghost town and primo wildlife spotting on Taylor Mesa. Plenty of elk and deer spotted. No bears - disappointment since Ralph indicated he's seen bear here every time he's visited. Back at Danzl Cottage for another summer monsoon light show and time to fire up the BBQ for some choice tube steaks...

DAY 5 - Monday 7/30
Dolores CO to Mesa Verde CO to Tuba City AZ to Sedona AZ to Ahwatukee AZ
461 miles
8 hrs, 21 min per Google Maps

A chance to check out the Galloping Goose and Dolores River Brewing Company before hitting road for home. Conversation along the road included setting a time for a return visit with fall colours being the choice excuse. Maybe a last week in September, first week in October future trek (check out => ) may be in the cards...

And that's my Colorado Tale 2012!
Steam Locomotive
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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