View across to Cohab Canyon at the start of our hike
Link to detailed route page and map click on route title
We started at the Hickman Bridge trailhead (same place as yesterday) and hiked up on to the ridges on the opposite side of the Fremont River Valley. This trail is entirely on the Kayenta Formation and the layers of sandstone, conglomerates, siltstone and mudstone are very visible through the eroded gully’s and washes. The softer rocks have also weathered down to provide a soil layer which allows the juniper trees and piñon (from which pine nuts come) to thrive even in this arid environment.
After cresting an initial ridge, where we saw a large mountain hare scamper across the trail in front of us, we hiked down into a wash and then, after very moorish peanut butter sarnies, up the other side to the high point of our trail. The far side of the ridge was very different to the climb up as there was a wide plateau filled with juniper and piñon trees, fantastic trunk formations. On the hike down to the valley floor where we joined the Grand Wash we had good views of Cassidy Bridge. This is a natural arch which hikers walk to the top of and look down on rather than being below and looking up. As our hike was long enough already we decided to give this a miss today.
The trail to the valley was very well made, and except for the last section, it had a gentle gradient gradually contouring round the sides of the Gorge walls affording fantastic views of the sheer rock cliffs on the far side of the valley.
We both found the Grand Wash less enjoyable, partly because it was very hot. The canyon is dry at present, but flash floods do fill it, and is a very impressive 2.5 mile hike through towering cliffs which at one point, through the narrows, become very narrow (hence the name) winding in a series of curves through the canyon. At this point the canyon walls are about 600 feet deep and only about 16 foot wide. One can only imagine at the geological forces which have created this feature. We found a lovely shady spot on a rocky ledge for lunch where we also had an afternoon siesta waiting for the temperature to drop and the afternoon light.
We enjoyed the hike back through the wash more, possibly as we were refreshed and the hike back on the Frying Pan trail was stunning in the late afternoon light. Although as chief quartermaster I rationed water to a drink every 15 min. It is very easy to get dehydrated here as it is so dry. I probably did not drink enough water in the morning but wanted to ensure we had plenty for the afternoon return hike A very enjoyable day rounded off with a BBQ back at our campsite.
See below a video of our hike followed by a compilation of our photos
Compilation of photos, press play to view