Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Canyonlands-Elephant Hill, Silver Stairs, Confluence, Angel Arch

Canyonlands--Elephant Hill, Silver Stairs, Confluence, Angel Arch

The main entrance to Canyonlands is from the east side of the Colorado, a little ways south of Moab, Utah. A few miles in the pavement ends and you have three choices--walk, 4 wheel drive or go back out. If you decide to 4 wheel it, you can go south (sometimes) down Salt Creek(see previous posts) or you can go west towards the Colorado River. The sign below gives you the mileage to various points on the west bound Jeep road.

On this particular occasion I was mostly interested in seeing the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. This was in 1971; I drove a Ford Bronco complete with winch.

The first part of the road requires one to navigate Elephant Hill, followed by the Silver Stairs. I'm not sure if the photos of the trail are in order but there isn't a lot of difference as I recall between the two hills. Below is the start of Elephant Hill, I think. One really needs a small vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler or old Ford Bronco to make this work. A friend of mine claimed to have done it in a Jeep Wagoneer but I don't know how she did it. Yes, that is the road. I understand the Park Service has added some cement here and there, but I haven't seen it with my own eyes.

This is the top of a ridge beginning the descent down the other side.

The two photos below show the Bronco stopped, probably with me deciding if I really wanted to do this. Apparently I did because I kept going and eventually made it back in one piece.

 The photo below shows part of the Silver Stairs.

I am not sure if the next two photos are Silver Stairs or Elephant  Hill. In the bottom one you can see the winch mounted on the front bumper. Fortunately I used it a lot more in snow country than I ever did in this sort of rough desert country. A very good thing to have on your vehicle in off road conditions.

The next two signs show how some turns are in this area. They are so tight that you have to back around them.

 The photo below shows the road headed towards Chesler Park, which I have never explored much beyond right here. After Elephant Hill and the Silver Stairs it looked and felt like an interstate freeway.
Below is the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. The Colorado is the one on the right, and is darker in color than the Green. John Wesley Powell's Grand Canyon Expedition started on the Green, above here at Green River, Utah. Just below here on the top of the west canyon wall is the Doll's House(see blog post of  11/6/13). Just south of the Doll's House is one of the nastiest stretches of white water on the whole Colorado, Cataract Canyon.

On this expedition I also went down Salt Creek to Angel Arch, which is in a side canyon on the east side of Salt Creek. There is a campground at the junction of Salt Creek and Angel Arch canyon, where I have camped several times. I have hiked up to Angel Arch more than once. The first photo below is in the vicinity of Angel Arch and shows an arch with a very thin bridge. I have never known the name of this arch, and have not seen it on a map. I read that an arch collapsed is this area fairly recently and I am wondering if this is that arch. The next photo is scenery near Angel Arch.

Below is Angel Arch. I have never been there under decent lighting conditions. Unfortunately this was the best I could do. Not too bad.

Photographic notes---These were all taken with a Mamiya-Sekor 1000DTL 35mm SLR, with a Mamiya 55mm lens. I am not sure of the film. They were scanned using a Konica Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400II film scanner using SilverFast scanning software. Post processing was in Photoshop, with some 3rd party plugins..