Thursday, April 12, 2007

Snow Canyon. St George, Utah

Brother Bill had suggested I visit Snow Canyon, just outside of St George. Thanks Bill, great place.
I arrived late in the day on Friday, and the campgrounds was full, but the ranger was very helpful, steering me to an area northwest of the canyon, and even giving me a drive-thru pass. he advised me to show back up at 9 the next morning for a possible site, and that did work.
I ended up in some BLM land near a reservoir (Sand Cove) for the night. This area was worthy of exploration too, but I set my sights n Snow cyn, and so it was. There is a very significant cinder cone just NW of the canyon that is a dramatic sight. I though about hiking to the rim on Sunday, but by the time I got there it was the heat of the afternoon and I wimped out.
After securing my site, I did a loop hike that took me scrambling across and through petrified sand dunes, a hidden pinyon pine forest, to a lava cave and up some peaks to overviews. Nice hike and beautiful scenery.
I tried a bike ride to a trailhead that would lead back to a second canyon, but 100 yds of hiking in and a long roll of thunder convinced me that I should heed the weather and try this hike again tomorrow. 10 minutes back at camp and the winds whipped up with up and downdrafts, temps dropped and I was sure I made the right call. Amazingly, we never got much at all in the way of rain. The peaks around the canyon seemed to block out any direct hit, and th storms swirled around just outside with falling rain within sight, but not much at all at camp.
I biked back out to the trailhead Easter morning, and trudged a mile in through a sand wash to the "3 ponds" the trail is named for. What was left out of the info was the canyon that the trail ended at. I went about a half mile up it and it was gorgeous! Pinyons, oaks, junipers and yucca. Some type of alder looking bush. Cacti, shrubs and grasses. It had been a while since I had been into such heavy growth and it was a nice change. Traversing the canyon took a lot of strategy and scrambling, and it was all uphill going, but I would have tried to make the whole length of I had provisioned better. Woulda, shoulda coulda... Very nice hike indeed.
After breaking camp I headed to the northwest end of the park and hiked out to "white rocks" and its ampitheatre. Quite a contrast to all of the red stone to the south.
This was indeed a nice park.

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