Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Doll House and Spanish Bottom

I have recently posted two entries about Canyonlands National Park, The All American Man and Pictographs and Petroglyphs. Both of these posts were about the east side of the Colorado River. This post is about the west side of the river. The top map is a wide view of the Park; the bottom map focuses on the the west side.

In 1971 a friend of mine asked if I would like to go to Canyonlands to the Doll House and Spanish Bottom. Seems a friend of his from Washington, DC wanted to see that country and asked if Nelson would take him. Nelson said yes and I said yes and come Labor Day we were off. Nelson had a Scout, I think, the friend rented a Scout in Salt Lake City, I had a Ford Bronco and another friend came along in a four wheel drive pick em  up truck. The jumping off point for this expedition was Hanksville, shown on the top map. The Doll House and Spanish Bottom are about 50 miles south east of Hanksville, on the Colorado River about a mile south of the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Hanksville is shown on the top map and the Doll House and Spanish Bottom on the bottom map.The photo below is an old meeting house/school house in Hanksville.

The Doll House is about 50 miles from Hanksville, most of which is on either dirt or rough slick rock 4WD "road". Someone on the internet recently said that it took him about six hours to traverse the last 20 miles. I don't doubt it; while not the worst road in Canyonlands, much of it is crawling along in low range four wheel drive. Above is a photo of my Bronco behind Nelson's Scout on the "road."

The four photos above are typical of the country we passed through on the way to the Doll House. This area is sometimes referred to as the "Land of Standing Rocks."

The friend from Washington DC was afraid of heights, but was absolutely determined to see this area for himself. A couple of times I looked in my rear view mirror to see his wife out walking in front of the vehicle guiding him. There are two photos of that action below. We are on a slick rock road with cliff face on one side and nothing on the other with some rocks/boulders to maneuver around. Compared to many other roads I have been on this one was almost a freeway; although it was funny to see, I couldn't laugh. He was determined to conquer his fear and, what's more, he did.

 We finally reached the Doll House, shown in the photos below. These formations sit right on the edge of the Colorado River Canyon. They are named the Doll House because some people think they look like armless dolls. As you can see the colors change with the light. The fifth photo down was taken just before sundown and gives them a golden glow.

The photo below was taken from the east side of the river, almost at the Confluence of the Green and Colorado. The Doll House is on the edge of the canyon almost in the center of the photo. At the time I took this photo I had not been to the Doll House and did not know what I was photographing besides the Colorado River Canyon.

At Spanish Bottom the floor of the canyon widens out a bit so there is some flat ground. Now river runners stop there and rest and fool around. There is a trail that leads down from the Doll House to Spanish Bottom. The vertical drop is about 1000 feet. The first photo below shows part of Spanish Bottom from the canyon rim about where the trail starts. The second photo shows the trail a little below the rim.

The first photo below is taken at Spanish bottom looking north; the second photo is taken from the same spot looking east across the river, where Lower Red Lake Canyon enters the Colorado canyon.

The first photo below shows some river runners on the east bank of the river and a raft just going out of sight on the right side. The next photo is of a river rafting company supply boat. A mile or so south of  Spanish Bottom the river enters Cataract Canyon, one of the wildest places on the Colorado in terms of rafting.

We camped at the Doll House; the final photo is of sunset one of the evenings we were there.

A note on the photos--these were all on Kodachrome, 35mm, taken with a Mamiya-Sekor 1000DTL camera. They were scanned using a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400II.

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