This past weekend a group of us from work and some friends headed to Moab, UT for a weekend of camping and hiking. One person went over early on Friday to secure a campsite and found a great one at the Spring Site campground out on Kane Creek Road. There are 5 campsites here and they share “facilities” with the Hunters Canyon campground about a mile further down the road. Dust aside, Spring Site #3 was a great spot for us and provided plenty of room for tents. Still, if you’re squeamish about not having a bathroom handy at all times, you might want to pitch your tent right down at Hunters Canyon instead.
My tent is the tiny yellow MSR up on the hill.
Since we were here, we decided to hike Hunter Canyon on Saturday. We got a late start, but by 1:30 (yes, 1:30) we were standing at the trail register reading the description of the hike. It included something along the lines of “Distance: 4 miles round trip. Duration: 4 hours.”
“Ha! Yeah right…4 hours. It won’t take us that long,” someone said.
We set off up the sandy trail to explore. Surely, we thought, it won’t take us 4 hours to go 4 miles! Hunter Canyon is beautiful. There is a stream that manages to snake its way through the desert canyon, over and under rocks, from beginning to end.
Spring flowers were blooming and the rock formations were definitely photo-worthy. Little arches in rocks, made by wind and water, just called for attention.
Tiny arches in rocks along the trail
Blooming Barrell Cactus
It was hot. So hot. After a while even the flowers blooming all around us took a backseat to the heat. I kept dipping my hat in the stream and sipping water. Still, I was afraid I was going to run out at every sip. Supposedly there was an arch at the end of Hunter Canyon. We found this, but it looks nothing like an arch.
“Did we take a wrong turn? Was there another cairn back there?” someone asked. So we turned around, after reaching the very very last possible can’t-go-any-further end of one canyon. There was indeed another cairn marking another trail. We headed in that direction across some high meadows, criss-crossing the stream, and eventually found a nice cool pool of water and some shade.
At this point it was 3:15. We’d had a good hike so far, but we still had to get back to the campsite… at least 3 miles away. So we turned around. We hadn’t encountered any amazing arches, but we’d seen tiny desert flowers, tiny waterfalls, and huge rock formations. The hike out was quiet. Everyone was tired and running low on water. We stumbled back into “civilization” at Hunter Campground and said, “We should have driven down here.”
With a mile to go to get back to camp we started walking back up Kane Creek Road. All I could think about was having a nice cold beer and some chips. And ice cream. Maybe a sandwich. In the end, this canyon hike falls under the “it was an adventure!” category. It’s beautiful and I highly recommend it, but I also recommend heeding the “duration” description. It will take you four hours. Prepare accordingly with plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen.
By the way, THIS is what an arch should look like!
Sunday’s hike was to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.