San Rafael Swell 2010

All of a sudden it’s October and things are starting to cool off in a hurry so last weekend we made our last family camping trip of the year. Because it was UEA we decided on visiting some of the more remote locations in the San Rafael Swell.

We started off the trip with a short hike down Red Draw, a tributary of Eardley Canyon. We had made 4 or 5 trips down Red Draw to access Upper Eardley canyon in the past but this was our first visit in the last 6 years. Once we got about a half mile down Red Draw we discovered that every pot hole was filled to the brim and all the bypassing and scrambling was going to add quite a bit of time to our hike. We made it down to the Red Holes and decided to turn around rather than continue down into Eardley only to get stopped by the big potholes around the confluence of these canyons.

The Red Holes

After we finished our hike in Red Draw we drove south to Reds Canyon and set up Camp at the old abandoned Lucky Strike uranium mine site. We got camp set up and dinner ready just as it got dark then spent the rest of the night shooting star trails and long exposures using the various old buildings in our foregrounds.

Clint getting a shot of Reds Canyon

Morning shots of the same cabin.

That night around 4am I woke up with some pretty serious pain on the right side of my nose and a fair amount of swelling. By the time the sun came up I was really hurting and the swelling had spread around my eye and cheek. I raided all the first aid kits and kept ice on it for a few hours as we waited around camp to see if it got any wrose. Then the swelling started to go down a bit so I decided rather stay than make the long drive home after only one night. We packed up camp and continued down Reds Canyon to Tomsich Butte. We parked the cars and walked around the area of the Dirty Devil mine.

Hondo Arch

A little light painting inside the mine

By this time my face was still hurting pretty bad but everyone agreed that the swelling was still going down and I was looking better. We left the Tomsich Butte Area and drove south to the Hidden Splendor area to hike down into the Grand Gorge of the Muddy Creek. The kids always love hiking in water and had a blast splashing around in the Muddy Creek. We hiked a little under two miles down the gorge then returned back to the cars.

Inside Motel 6 near the Hidden Splendor mine

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, we completed our hike then drove north to camp in the Head of Sinbad area and found that our “go to” campsite was taken. Once we found a new site we set up camp, made dinner, and just chilled around the campfire. I was pretty tired and sore and ended up falling asleep while laying our 3yo down for the night.

The next morning my face was again just little bit better and still hurting. We packed up camp and headed out making one quick stop at the Spotted Wolf Canyon overlook before driving back home.

Last shot of the weekend – Myself, April, Whitney, and the Boys.

One Response to “San Rafael Swell 2010”

  1. Payne says:

    Emery County is in the process of doing an interpretive panel for the Lucky Strike Mine and the Tomsich Butte area. You may have seen our last one at Temple Mountain or the Swinging Bridge over the San Rafael River.
    We are looking for photos to include in these signs. There are some on this site that are very good. Would it be possible to use 1 or 2 in describing this “tourist rich” area? Credit could be given to the photographer if needed.

    Thank you for your kind consideration of this request.

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