Monday, June 9, 2014

Macomb Arch in San Juan County.

Roy and I finally, not only found the road to Macomb Arch, but were able to hike and climb up to it.  Our dog, Jenna, was along with us; she has proven to be, not just a great companion, but excellent climber herself.  I first mentioned spotting the arch when I wrote about Steens Road, but didn't want to ride off into the back country alone. Good thing too, since the road to Macomb Arch does require a wee bit of rock crawling at the beginning; Roy is more adept at that than I am.

I was able to dig up a bit of history pertaining to the naming of Macomb Arch and it has nothing to do with a rancher.  This arch of Entrada sandstone was named after Captain John N. Macomb of the Corps of Topographical Engineers; sent to Utah in 1859 to create maps of San Juan County, determine the potential for mineral mining and survey the course of the San Juan River.

Now for a map, details on finding the arch and a lot more photos.

After turning onto East Canyon Road (CR 105), go 1.8 miles to Peters Wash Road (CR 108) and make a left turn onto it.  After one mile, you'll reach the old windmill and barbed wire/wooden post gate; open the gate, drive through and make sure to close the gate.

Drive one more mile and you'll see a dirt trail leading off to the east; follow it with your eye and you can see how it travels up a small hill and out to Deer Neck Mesa.  This dirt road quickly turns to rocky terrain as you go up and over that small hill.  Eventually it turns back into dirt; and here's a hint to help you find the road...look for the two rock formations that look like two petrified piles of dino poop (that's what they look they to me at least).

Looking back towards CR 108

This entire road to Macomb Arch is only 1.7 miles; at 1.6 miles you'll have to open and close another barbed wire/wooden post gate; park 1/10th of a mile after that to hike to the arch. The hike to the arch itself is about 1/4 of a mile; from the trail and as you walk to it, you'll get different viewpoints of the arch itself.  The climb up to the arch itself is about 200 feet; the sandstone fin is still a slippery walk even though it is dry.

The Views of Macomb Arch

Notice the miniature version of Mexican Hat at the top of the sandstone fin

Jenna and I made the climb up to the arch.  I was going to try and climb up into the arch itself, but even with good hiking boots on, I began to slide downwards.  I turned and plopped on my arse quickly to keep from sliding all the way down into the gully below.

Roy had the same difficulty as I; he managed to walk around to the edge of the fin to see if it was any easier climbing around the other side.  Nope, it was steep all the way around and that gully looked very far, far down.

But wait, there's more!  After leaving the arch, we drove the SUV further eastward on the dirt road and found caves within one of the fins.

Of course I can't forget the beautiful plant life growing within the desert sands.

Colorado Blue Columbine

Pale Evening Primrose

Watson's Slenderlobe (Phlox family)
Yellow Cryptanth (Borage family)

This was a most awesome adventure for us...Victory was ours!!!

Mary Cokenour

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