Bears Ears National Monument is threatened. Please sign this petition to protect it.
On our 4th day in Bears Ears National Monument, we woke to a lovely morning, then packed up and left Grand Gulch behind. The final day of our hike would involve 7 miles of climbing up Bullet Canyon. Hummingbirds zoomed around us as we began our day.
Early in the day, the hiking was flat and easy. Not so much later!
We continually marveled at the great variety of rock shapes and layers all around us.
After 2 miles, we came upon Jailhouse Ruin nestled in the canyon wall. We noticed the large, bold white circles first. According to an interpretive sign at the ranger station, they are thought to possibly depict a shield, moon, or eye-like openings (for the pictograph on the right). The ruin’s structures occupy two levels in the rock face.
Grand Gulch lies in the new Bears Ears National Monument. This and many other national monuments, including three along the PCT, are now under threat. We wanted to continue writing about our hike so more people can appreciate the archaeological significance and natural beauty of this special place.
Rain fell overnight and into the morning of our third day in the canyon. A cliff overhung Split Level Ruin, keeping it dry. We ate our breakfast up near the ruins and explored the area a bit more as we waited for the rain to calm down.
Split Level Ruin
Hundreds of Ancestral Pueblo pottery shards were scattered on the ground. We feasted our eyes but didn’t touch anything.
The creek had developed a nice flow from the night’s precipitation. The rain eased as we walked, but we still became soaked as we brushed against wet vegetation. On the positive side, all the wet sagebrush smelled fantastic!
We woke to a peaceful morning on the second day of our hike in Grand Gulch. Quiet surrounded us as we filtered water from the creek near Junction Spring.
Cottonwoods thrive along the creek
Backpacking in Grand Gulch in late April
We found an intriguing collection of rock art at Turkey Pen Ruin. It is thought that the sheep pictograph on the right has a spear in its back.
Peering inside an ancestral Pueblo structure
In late April we embarked on a backpacking trip in Cedar Mesa, BLM land in southeastern Utah. We planned to hike from the Kane Gulch ranger station to the Bullet Canyon trailhead in four days. The area is renowned for its concentration of Ancestral Pueblo (previously called Anasazi) ruins and rock art.
We picked up our backpacking permit and got information about current water availability at the Kane Gulch ranger station. Since we were doing a one-way hike, we then drove to the Bullet Canyon trailhead and left our car there, then hitched back to Kane Gulch.
With everything in order, we began our descent into Kane Gulch.
Hiking the Kane Gulch Trail
Dozens of lizards watched us walk past
A massive chunk of rock split off to form this narrow passage.