Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

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DaveK
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Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#1

Post by DaveK » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:20 am

We will be leaving shortly and while we are away, we will be sending pictures and short trip reports back, via Airmail, to be posted here. Thanks Larry!!!!
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cruiserlarry
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#2

Post by cruiserlarry » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:30 pm

DaveK wrote:We will be leaving shortly and while we are away, we will be sending pictures and short trip reports back, via Airmail, to be posted here. Thanks Larry!!!!
Ready and waiting :D Have a great trip !!!
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#3

Post by cruiserlarry » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:48 pm

I just received the first picture from DaveK, K6DTK, via HF Airmail, of the Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013 Expedition run.

This shot is from their first night camp in the Valley of the Gods - an absolutely stunning scene. The has been great so far, with daytime temps in the mid 60s, and nighttime temps in the mid 40s.
Photo #1
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FIRST NIGHT CAMP / VALLEY OF THE GODS
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#4

Post by unwiredadventures » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:07 pm

Beautiful spot!
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#5

Post by cruiserlarry » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:03 am

Here's the latest view from the adventures of K6DTK and KE6VRL :

Attached is a picture of the Moki Dugway, just north of Mexican Hat.

Photo #2
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Mogi Dugway - North of Mexican Hat
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#6

Post by cruiserlarry » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:09 pm

Another amazing photo, courtesy of K6DTK and Airmail...this one a view of the Dark Canyon area as Dave and Hector drove to Beef Basin

Photo #3
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Beef Basin
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#7

Post by cruiserlarry » Thu May 02, 2013 9:44 pm

Dave and Hector are spending one additional night in Beef Basin as there are so many Anasazi ruins to see. Here is a view from their campsite:

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View from Beef Basin campsite
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#8

Post by cruiserlarry » Sat May 04, 2013 10:48 pm

One of the many Anasazi ruins Dave K6DTK and Hector KE6VRL encountered in Beef Basin:

Photo #5
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Anasazi ruins in Beef Basin
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Along the way, Dave's H2 had a disagreement with a patch of snow on the trail.
Current score: Snow 1, Hummer 0
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Hummer Slip 'n Slide Demonstration
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#9

Post by BorregoWrangler » Mon May 06, 2013 6:47 pm

cruiserlarry wrote:One of the many Anasazi ruins Dave K6DTK and Hector KE6VRL encountered in Beef Basin:
k6dtk -camp5.JPG
Along the way, Dave's H2 had a disagreement with a patch of snow on the trail.
Current score: Snow 1, Hummer 0
k6dtk -camp6.JPG
:shock:

Looks like you're trying to compete with Ollie for those shelf-road mishaps! :lol:
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Re: Dark Canyon and Parashant 2013

#10

Post by DaveK » Mon May 20, 2013 2:19 pm

We made it back, with a few managed mishaps under our belt, but having enjoyed a great trip. Total miles traveled was 1881, with several hundred in the dirt.

As with most of the areas we traveled, there is so much more to see than time to see it all, and this year, it was no different. Both Dark Canyon and the Parashant are huge and even though we spent close to two weeks, there is so much more to see. Maybe for another trip, someday.

Many thanks to the following:

1. Larry - for posting all the Airmail photos and trip information here on OAUSA.

2. Wayne Chapman W7WAC, owner of the Navajo Repeater in Utah. The repeater is located on Navajo Mountain at 10,000 feet and has a very impressive footprint for the surrounding area. We had coverage for almost the entire trip and were able to participate in their nets from our campsite. Wayne had alerted his members to keep a lookout for us in the event we needed any help. Wayne and the members of the repeater represent the best of Amateur Radio.

3. Hector - it is always a pleasure to travel with good friends who also happen to be great chefs.

EQUIPMENT COMMENTS

1. For all of our wilderness trips, alternate power is not just a gimmick or a mere convenience. Although we carried sufficient fuel to cover our intended itinerary, we needed to be wise with the amount we had, and starting the vehicles several times per day to cover our electrical needs was to be avoided, if possible. As the temps rose, so did the demand for power for the Fridge Freeze units. In camp, use of the radios, at either 50 or 100 watts, required additional power. For the most part, at least during the day, the 90 watt solar panel was sufficient to keep the batteries fully charged, but at night, it w as a different story. That’s where my wind turbine came into play. For three days in Beef Basin, we had constant wind, and I took full advantage of this free power. The wind turbine has finally proven its value and for these three days, especially at night, I was able to operate the radios, at full power, while still having a full charge on the batteries. In the morning the batteries were still at full charge, despite the refrigerator cycling on and off all night long.

Wind Turbine at work

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2. HF Airmail was 100% reliable. We had HF and VHF radios operating almost every night and no matter where we were, Airmail always worked. It allowed me to keep in touch with family and friends, via regular email, and to send pictures of the trip as we traveled. The Scorpion 6-80 Antenna, connected to the auto tuner, made it extremely easy to move to any band in seconds with the touch of a single button.

Scorpion 6-80 Screqdriver Antenna at work

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3. Springbar Tents. Hector and I both used our Springbars for this trip and it is such a pleasure to have a tent that is easy and quick to set up, withstands high winds and heavy rain, requires no rain fly, is well made, and MOST importantly, is tall enough to stand up in. Even the smallest Springbar tent is large enough for a sleeping bag, gear and a chair.

Springbar Tents on Dry Mesa

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4. Navigating the many hundreds of miles of roads in these areas can be very difficult. Several of the areas we traveled, I had never visited before. The most valuable tool I had to assist us in navigating our way was the Nat. Geo. Topo! program. Unfortunately, NG had dropped Topo! from their product line, but not before I had acquired all of the states where we expected to travel. I was able to hand draw all of our routes on a topo map and without a single glitch, Topo! performed flawlessly. It was particularly useful as we came into camp on Mt. Logan at midnight. Finding the correct roads was a simple matter of following my tracks.

MANAGED MISHAPS

No trip is compete without some breakage or failures, but with a little luck, some clever preparation, and some ingenuity, most problems can be overcome. We had our share on this trip, and fortunately, nothing serious happened. Here they are:

1. I found the ONLY patch of show on the roads we took and it was a mess. The patch consisted of some hidden rock hard ice and some soft snow, which when stepped on, you sank all the way to the ground (about 2-3 feet). Since it was all melting, it created a wonderfully muddy mess that coated everything on the vehicles and trailer. It took a little less than an hour to get straight and get out, but we needed to whack our way through again on the way back out.

Sideways
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2. Hector just installed a very nice screwdriver antenna on the rear bumper of the FJ, in an area that you would not think would be vulnerable to trail damage. Wrong. The trail to Dry Mesa had obviously not been used as we had to stop and clear several trees and branches from the road. At some point on this trail, his antenna caught a branch and badly bent the mount.

3. At the top of the Moki Dugway, Hector called and asked if I had lost any fluids as there was a huge patch of something wet on the road. As I checked, it became apparent that the answer was yes. Apparently I had lost all of the coolant when one the hoses that fed the heater core had busted and blew coolant all over the engine. An hour and a half later, we were on our way with a field fix that was good enough to get me home, although without a heater.

4. As we were leaving our Dry Mesa camp, Hector’s trailer ripped the receiver right off his new bumper. Fortunately we were able to connect the trailer to the Hummer and find our way to a very nice meadow camp we discovered last year. Hector had to travel to Blanding to get some welding work done to the bumper and we spent one night at that camp when he returned. Although the Blanding work seemed to be doing the trick, we noticed that the receiver still seemed to be bending down and in time, could fail again.

Troubles with the trailer hitch (step 1: remove mud)
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Note that the hitch receiver is pointing south
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When we left Dark Canyon we headed to St. George to again get some more welding to beef up the hitch. We arrived late in the afternoon in St. George, on a Friday. By the time we found a place that could do the repairs, the shop was closed and the owner and a friend were out front in their Jeeps, probably discussing how they would be spending their Friday evening. When Hector explained his needs, the owner opened the shop and took charge of the repairs. If you are ever in St. George and need any work done on your rig, there is only one place I would recommend, Dixie 4Wheel Drive. Milt Thompson is as decent and honest a guy as you could ever meet.

DARK CANYON (including Valley of the Gods, the Moki Dugway and Beef Basin)

DC is located in south eastern Utah, south west of Moab and north of Monument Valley. Most of DC is located in the Manti La Sal National forest at an average elevation of around 8000 feet. Initially, the attraction of DC was the stunning scenery and thickly wooded forests. The more I saw and the more I researched the area, it was clear that it held another attraction - Anasazi history.

Many hundreds of years ago, the Four Corners Area supported a significant and thriving Anasazi community whose influence stretched for hundreds of miles in all directions. This general area, referred to today as Chaco Canyon, was a major commercial, religious and social hub from about 700 AD to about 1100 AD (source: Anasazi America, David Stewart, University of New Mexico Press). Stewart says:

“At the height of their power in the late eleventh century, the Chaco Anasazi dominated a territory in the American Southwest larger than any European principality of the time. A vast and powerful alliance of thousands of farming hamlets and nearly 100 spectacular towns integrated the region through economic and religious ties, and the whole system was interconnected with hundreds of miles of roads. It took these Anasazi farmers more than seven centuries to lay the agricultural, organizational, and technological groundwork for the creation of classic Chacoan civilization, which lasted about 200 years--only to collapse spectacularly in a mere 40. ”

We saw a mere glimpse of this phenomenon.

FIRST NIGHT IN VALLEY OF THE GODS

This butte was called "Lady in a Bathtub"

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MOKI DUGWAY

The Moki Dugway was built by a mining company to haul ore from the mine to the another location for processing. The first phot is a view from the top of the mesa.

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CAMP ON DRY MESA
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CAMP IN BEEF BASIN
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ANASAZI RUINS
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DARK CANYON (various views)
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PARASHANT

There is not much I can add about the Parashant the we have not said before. The need to return often is irresistible and this year it didn’t disappoint. Due in part to some mechanical problems, mentioned above, we needed to scuttle the ride to Kelly Point. If you’ve made this trip, you know that it is endless miles of bumpy, rocky, rutted roads.

The first 2 days in the Parshant were spent on Mount Logan with an incredible view to the west.
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Our next stop was the Bar 10 Ranch and as we left Mt. Logan, it began to cloud up and light rain started to fall. By the time we arrived at the Bar 10, it had turned mostly sunny and a lot warmer. Since we arrived early, we decided to continue past the Ranch to the end of the road, at the edge of the Grand Canyon. The hike to the bottom involved about a 1000 foot descent to the river. By the time we reached the Colorado, the temps were easily in the mid 80s and it was a welcome relief to enjoy the cold water of the river.

HIKE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE GRAND CANYON
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The Bar 10 Ranch
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We stayed at the Bar 10 in their covered wagons for one night and the package included dinner and breakfast at the lodge. If you have never experienced the Bar 10, it is a wonderful way to enjoy comfortable accommodations and prepared meals in a very remote area, at a reasonable price. If you have family members who are not yet ready for the full wilderness experience, the Bar 10 is a great way to gently introduce them to an area that few people see while still enjoying all the comforts of home. We opted to stay in the Conestoga Wagons for the night. For those with very little time, you can fly in to the ranch, either by fixed wing aircraft or helicopter.

The next day, as we left the Bar 10, it was clear that there was some weather about to happen. We listened to the National Weather Service broadcasts on our radios and as we were driving to Twin Point, in less than an hour, the prediction of rain went from 40% to 60%, but we decided to forge ahead anyway. As we drove more, the partly cloudy sky became completely cloudy with some nasty dark clouds increasing in size, but we decided to forge ahead. Then it started to rain, but it was sort of light, so we decided to forge ahead. When it started to hail, we got the message and turned around and left early. We had to cut the trip short by a couple of days, but if we had continued and become stuck in the infamous Parashant mud, we might still be there waiting for it to dry out. No thanks!

All in all, a great trip!
DaveK
K6DTK


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