We loaded up our backpacks with water, healthy snacks and other necessities, plus a sturdy walking stick for me. Although it was one mile in, one mile out, we would be sliding down into a dry wash, and climbing back up sandy slopes. Having a "third leg" to lean on would be a huge help; it also aided in testing sandy patches between rocks to see if they were secure when climbing up to ledges.
|Going Back Up.|
|Into and Out of the Dry Wash Often.|
There were deer making their way through the dry wash, the brush and eventually upward to the cliff sides. We didn't see or hear any mountain lions, but saw prints in the sandy soil; they were watching us I'm sure. When doing this sort of hike, do not go alone; injuries could occur due to falling, sliding, tripping, losing footing on the rocks on the dry wash floor, and animal attack. If you absolutely have to do it alone, make sure to let someone know where you are going, when to expect your return, all pertinent information about yourself, and contact information for next of kin. You might think I'm kidding around, but Search and Rescue for both Grand and San Juan Counties are two of the busiest in the state of Utah.
Back to the hike, the scenery is gorgeous along the trail; there are many other alcoves (ledges with a roof) which seemed perfect for ruin sites. Perhaps there had been at one time, and they have totally been destroyed; or the ancient Indians did not see the use. I climbed up to one such alcove and it was lovely up there; miniature arches at the edges; potholes and nesting areas. As with House of Fire ruins, these alcoves are also ablaze from the rays of the sun; yet the temperature was cool inside.
Not using a pedometer, one can estimate a mile on natural terrain should take about 45 minutes; we estimated one hour with photographic stops. We had just turned a corner, as we walked through the dry wash, and suddenly we saw the edge of a ruin through the brush. As we continued forward, the entire site opened up to us....breathtaking, spectacular, blazing with fire due to the tilting of the mushroom dome and desert varnish streaks on the inside of the roof. The climb upward is steep and there are two spots we found for making the trek up and down; by the way, there is a geocache located at one of the spots. There is enough room to lie down or squat at the openings to peer inside; there are warnings there about climbing inside; the stone is old and fragile, so no damaging it!
Looking Inside a Room
House on Fire Video
Surprisingly, we did not find any rock art around the site, not even moving through the rocky hallway to the far left of the ruins themselves. Exiting the hallway, we came out on a ledge that we could follow back to the ruins. There is an excellent view of the canyon beyond (there are more ruins as you travel along; this could be an all day adventure), and a cave across the dry wash.
After returning to our vehicle, we indulged in a light lunch; next on the agenda was Cave Towers. I had been there the day before with a group, but the 35-45 mile/hour winds made ledge walking a bit sketchy. This new day was clear, calm and perfect for taking my hubby there, and showing him the wonders.