San Rafael River Backpack
Travels in Arizona- Museums and National Monuments
Escalante River Trek- Highway 12 to Early Weed Bench Trailhead
Step Canyon Dayhike- Cedar Mesa
Montezuma Canyon and Three Kiva Pueblo Drive
Slickhorn Canyon One to Slickhorn Canyon Two Dayhike
Slickhorn Canyon Three to Slickhorn Canyon Four Dayhike
Moab area Rock Art
Escalante- Horse Canyon to the Escalante River to Little Death Hollow
Escalante- Coyote Gulch Backpack
Upper Grand Gulch- Highway 95 to Kane Gulch
Additions to the San Juan River page from July, 2008 float
Summary of August, 2008 White Rim Trail Ride
Summary of May, 2008 Dirty Devil River Float
Nevada Page has been added covering sites to see while traveling through
Summary of our August, 2007 Green River float trip
The Desert is "...a land that once visited must be come back to inevitably."
- Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain
Introduction to Desert Explorer Guides
Our trip guides are arranged by location on the links to the left. Our guides are essentially summaries- our goal is to offer enough information to help you get to the trailhead, get into the canyon and get back out again. We do try to include information that might be important to you- where you might find a canyon exit, where you might encounter a pouroff, hints about what you might see, and where you might find water. But our intention is to try and limit the amount of information given to allow you explore and discover the treasures of the desert on your own.
As time allows, more information may be added to the existing pages, and more summary pages will be added. In the future we will offer consultation by email and phone for those interested in obtaining more information about these areas. Our consultation options will be covered in more detail elsewhere, including package options and fees, as we build our site. We are still working out the details, but we will offer services from one half hour on the phone discussing options to planning your entire trip, providing you with GPS points for entry, and topographic maps if you so desire. We will also offer recommendations for outfitters and guide services should you desire a package trip. If you are interested in these services, or have any questions about what you have read, please contact us through email.
Presently we cover southeast Utah, from Hovenweep National Monument west to Lake Powell and from Interstate 70 in the north to the San Juan River in the south. Although this list is not extensive- this part of Utah has unlimited possibilities- we will continue to update and in the near future include more information from the Escalante region and the San Rafael Swell. We will eventually expand south into Arizona and east into northern New Mexico. On most of the trip guide pages we reference 1:100,000 planning maps and 1:24,000 topographic mapsheets. Many of the Trails Illustrated planning maps are available through our website- visit our Guidebooks page to take a look at them. The 1:24,000 maps can be purchased at various locations throughout southern Utah- at the visitors' centers in Moab and Blanding, at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and at Hovenweep National Monument- visit our Desert Links page for more info.
Outdoor Ethics and Respecting Archaeological Sites
While many people are aware of and practice Leave No Trace wilderness principles, we will discuss them here briefly for those new to the concept. The idea behind Leave No Trace wilderness principles is the minimisation of impact on the land. My own minimalistic version of these principles sounds like this: walk softly, walk quietly, walk with respect.
The basic principles include:
- camp in established campsites and on durable surfaces
- dispose of trash properly- pack it in, pack it out
- leave what you find- take only photographs, leave rocks, plants and especially artifacts in place for the next visitor
- minimise campfire impacts- use a stove for cooking or if you do build a fire keep it small and use existing fire rings
- respect wildlife- observe from a distance and control your pets if you must bring them along
- respect others in the wilderness- camp away from others and (this is an important one for me) keep voices and noise to a minimum. There is nothing more disturbing than having your wilderness experience invaded by the screaming or blaring music of other campers.
For more detailed explanations of the above principles, please visit the Leave No Trace website.
Archaeological sites have a set of rules all to themselves. Most importantly, do not take anything from any site- leave everything right where you find it. Do not disturb, climb on, or deface any ruin or rock art panel. Stay out of middens (trash piles). Do not touch rock art panels. For more information on how you can help preserve archaeological sites visit the Colorado BLM's Anasazi Heritage Center website, and the utah BLM's Cedar Mesa web page (scroll to the bottom.)