April 21, 2016

4/1/16 - Bucktank Draw Hike

First I have to tell you that I have no idea where Bucktank Draw really is.  I don't mean I really don't know where it is, because obviously we couldn't have done a hike if we couldn't find it.  I just don't know which branch of the park service stakes claim to it.

We were staying in Page, Arizona, crossed the Glen Canyon Dam over Lake Powell (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area) and stopped at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center for hike suggestions.  Listed on the back of the sheet under Regional Hikes Outside of Glen Canyon, Hwy 89 North is Bucktank Draw.

Then we drove a few miles into Utah, and stopped at the Big Water Visitor Center (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument).  On the other hand, when I look at a map, there's a bit of Utah state land surrounded by Glen Canyon NRA, GSENM and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. So I say I haven't a clue...Actually, I'm not even sure if there's a difference between a draw and a wash.

Wherever we were, we followed the directions and parked at the west end of the metal railing on the south side of US 89, between mileposts 9 and 10. There's a gate to pass through before you reach the wash.
This is the draw, and maybe a wash; either way, it's really sandy.  Really hard to walk in.  Really tiring.
Occasionally there's a little patch of slickrock.  Slickrock is the flat rock that's been smoothed by wind or water--maybe sand here. It's not really slick unless it's wet or has a little bit of sand on it. No water here, but occasionally some sand on the rock.  Mostly it's a lot less tiring than walking in the heavy sand, although George kept telling me to be careful. (I'm afraid I'm going to be a little whiny today--I was exhausted by the time we finished.) 
We had to go through some barbed wire strung across the wash.  Not a big deal because it was already broken.  Don't know if it was by people or cattle, but I'd give the cows the benefit of the doubt here.  I went up and around, George went under.
In some sections the walls of the draw got a little higher, and sometimes they had a lot of color.  It would have been more interesting if I'd been a little less uncomfortable.
They call these "pour-offs", where the water flows off a rock edge into a pool below.  Sometimes you go up, and sometimes you go around.  I took this shot after I'd already climbed up.
This one was easier to go around on the sandy slope but I had to check it out first.
Here's another pour-off that George is climbing up.  He doesn't much like the climbing; I don't much like the sand.
The water does different things to the rocks when it floods down the wash.  I don't know what it's called when it makes little columns like these. 
Here's another section where we had to go around.  We had to go up another sandy slope before we could get on the slickrock to take us around and then back down.
Like this one...by now whenever I saw more sand, I was not very happy.  My legs hurt, my shoulder hurt, I was tired and feeling pretty crabby.  George was doing just fine, so I had to keep up--and try to keep shut up.  Obviously I should have done more walking last winter.
You're supposed to go 1.5 miles up the wash to be able to see Birthday Arch.  And that's just to see it, not climb up to it.  Across from the arch,on the opposite side of the canyon, is a slot canyon well concealed in the canyon wall.  We didn't go close enough to see the arch very well, and I'm not sure I saw it at all.  George took this picture.
Since I pooped out and didn't want to go closer to the arch, we obviously didn't see the well concealed slot canyon.  We did traverse around this little tiny thing back down the draw.  I'm calling it good.  I just wanted to head back to the truck, which I figure is now about 6 miles away.
At least it's downhill.  
More pictures of Bucktank Draw.

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