Monday, March 04, 2013

Finding Sloan Canyon

Over the weekend, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather (70°, sunny, a few photogenic clouds—a glimpse of spring) to drag my hubby out of the house to go find Sloan Canyon.

A co-worker of mine had told me that Sloan Canyon was easy to find, with “plenty” of signage. “I used to go there for school field trips,” he told me. 

What my young co-worker should have said was that there IS signage at Sloan Canyon. Plentiful? Not so much.

This is the turn-off to Sloan Canyon. That marker is the first “signage” we spotted after leaving paved roads.

From what I’ve read, Sloan Canyon’s limited accessibility is no accident. The area holds rare petroglyphs and striking volcanic rock formations. Because of the increase in vandalism and theft in areas like Sloan Canyon, the BLM keeps information about the canyon to a minimum and isn’t planning to increase accessibility much.

This weekend I didn’t get to see the petroglyphs in Sloan Canyon, but not because of the remote, rugged road or the rock scrambling required to reach what’s been described as “the Sistine Chapel of rock art.” No, I didn’t get to see that part of the canyon because my three hiking companions each quit on me, even the dog.

The first one to stop hiking was my husband, who had major surgery just a few months ago. About 40 minutes into our hike, we encountered a rocky obstacle on the trail. He sat down and announced he was done for the day. Absence totally excused.

Right after I lost companion #1, my teenage son made his own announcement. “I’m hungry and I don’t want to go any further,” followed by, “Can we stop somewhere on the way home and get something to eat? Can we leave now? Aren’t we done hiking? Haven’t we looked at enough rocks?” And so on and so forth.

So I left those two at the outcropping and continued on with Gigi, our dog.

Soon, Gigi’s tail was drooping, her head was hanging, and she was giving me that look, the one that says, “Can we go home now so I can sleep on the sofa until tomorrow?” (We later found Gigi had a paw injury—apparently not uncommon as we ran into a couple with a dog who also had an injured paw.)

I regarded the canyon in front of me. I wanted to keep on hiking. However, it was obvious that on this day I wasn’t going to see much more of Sloan Canyon.  At least I could say I’d found it. The petroglyphs would have to wait for another day.

Gigi and I turned around. At the outcropping, the tired and hungry (and bored) males were tossing pebbles at each other.

Before long, we were in the Jeep, headed home.

Have you been to Sloan Canyon? 


Steve Reed said...

Did you find the petroglyphs? It looks like you got pretty close. They are amazing.

TH Meeks said...

I sadly did not since my companions gave up on me before we got there. One of these days I'm going to go back (now that I know where it is) & make it all the way there.