Sweating in San Rafael Swell

30.5. - 31.5. 2004

Short summary

It actually was not that hot, on the contrary, somewhat chilly especially Sunday in the cool northwestern winds. I dripped some sweat on Monday. The plan was to get some riding while exploring Swell areas north of I-70.

I waited out the cold storm and left SLC early Sunday morning, and in less than 3 hours parked at the mouth of Black Dragon Wash. Rode up the ATV trail through the wash and then climbing at the higher plateau, and rode on dirt roads around Jackass Benches with two side trips to check out access road status to the Lower Box of San Rafael River. Then rode back down Black Dragon Wash. Clickable map and fotos are here. After a quick lunch, I rode up on a slickrock ramp just north of the canyon, which gave some good aerial looks at the narrows and nearby San Rafael river valley. Clickable map and fotos are here
A bit before 5pm I took off and drove up I-70 and then down Cottonwood Draw road to a dirt road about 5 miles south of San Rafael river, off which I camped for the night.

On Monday I got up early and a bit before 9 started pedalling up Cottonwood Draw road and then Oil Well Flat road. The plan was to find the connector to North Coal Wash and up Devils Racetrack. That was successful (BLM OHV map has all the trails in). Needless to say, the trails are self-created in a wilderness study area, but, the BLM was "nice enough" to keep them "temporarily" open to OHVs, so, why not to jump on a mountain bike there as well. Anyway, rode up Devils Racetrack, then through green meadows of the Sinbad Head area to a trail that descends down to Cane Wash, and through Cane Wash almost back to the car. Clickable map and fotos are here.
Pulled back at about 3.30pm, quickly tried to recuperate and around 4pm took off. Drove back the interesting way through the heart of the northern Swell towards Ut. Hwy. 10, about 30 miles of dirt roads and an interesting canyon climb. Not surprisingly, the traffic was pretty horrendous once I left the dirt, but, at that point, my brain was pretty out of it so I did not care too much. It was kinda funny to see all the shiny SUVs that probably haven't seen a dirt road in their lifetimes.
Weekend statistics, just about 100 miles and 11000 ft. of climbing. Met 6 ATVs and 2 dune buggies, 4 hikers and 1 biker. Major bummer is that there's another dust particle on my camera CCD. Recuperation from this shock takes longer than from the physical stress.

U of U / CHPC / Cuma / Travel / English / Swell 2004