Long Ways to Nowhere - Adventures of the Wandering Goat (picture heavy, sorry not sorry)

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Oct 27, 2013
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It's been a while since I posted our proper introduction, but I finally got some free time from the ICU and took the Wandering Goat out to stretch her legs. It's a long drive up to the AZ strip from here, but every time I go I'm reminded how much it's worth the time. Thankfully the Goat has A/C, and even though it isn't up to modern standards it still makes all the difference in making the drive tolerable this time of year. The access road to this specific area is in the worst condition I can remember, thank god I have no fillings to rattle out! Coming in we were aired up to 40PSI from the highway, which was a mistake (leaving we were at 22PSI and the drive was much more comfortable...). About 2 hours 4x4 through the sand after airing down and we made camp in the middle nowhere...

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We set up camp and consumed the obligatory beer, then I hustled off to take sunset photo's of our temporary home for two nights...
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The area is amazingly peaceful and remote, despite not being that many crow miles from people ...
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The complicated geology is stunning, a huge part of what makes this specific area so stunning...
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The plan was to get up early and make the hike to some petroglyphs, keeping in mind that it was supposed to hit ~90º. Sunrise coffee and oatmeal were consumed post haste, and off we went...
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Things began to warm with expected results by mid morning (my apologies, the lens obviously needed cleaning, but I don't do that while hiking unless things are pretty sever...)
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Thankfully we stumbled upon some impressive tinaja's, the savior of long tongued mongrels...
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For obvious reasons of time, the further we hiked the hotter it became...
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On the flip side, the closer we came to the rim, the more impressive the rock formations became. See the quail eroded into the rock?
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Arches/holes/crevices galore!
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Did I mention it was getting hot?
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California condor, convinced this was the end, waited patiently. If you want more information on this guy, go here and pull up number 88
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But we reached what we estimated by the topo's had to be the right crack in the cliff! By now, have I mentioned it was hot?
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We got the right crack! Ok, now go clean your brain out, I mean we found the right crack in the 1k ft cliff face.
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And s*** what a view!
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~1000y/o Puebloan grafiti mixed with ~100y/o rancher grafiti...oh how time changes our opinions. I first thought Ammon was some modern a****** who'd come out here by 21st century A'C'd 4x4 and thought himself important enough to scratch his not so cool name, but 1915 and suddenly his scratches are much cooler...and C.M Wright on 20APR1894? Definitely interesting...but still not as cool as 1050 Puebloan's who scratched a living out of this land 600 years after the fall of the (to them) unknown Roman Empire...
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By this time it was pushing 1100hrs, and things were starting to get hot. Not just sweat while you hike hot, but hot...Have I mentioned that the sandstone formations are fascinating? Ust, James, and the mongrels trudging back to camp, where were those tinaja's again? Oh yeah, GPS was on the fritz, so no location information. Navigation skils are real kids, don't get lazy! We hit the tinaja's on the way back, but by then we were all exhausted and so I didn't get any pictures.
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We made it back to camp about 1300, by which time it was also ~90º with no shade. Most of the afternoon was passed drinking beer and ice water under the Goats awning. Once night fell we had ourselves some juicy steaks and crashed, but not before I got a great shot of the Milkey Way.
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Monday morning came and we packed up camp. James and Ustadza had to work Tuesday, and my Dad came down from central Utah to join me for the next two nights. On the way back in with Dad following in his 4Runner, we stopped to wonder about the ranchers who lived out here last century.
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Why sure Dad, I'll model for ya...no, no you didn't ask, but I'm gonna do it anyway...
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By this time it was pushing 1100hrs, and things were starting to get hot. Not just sweat while you hike hot, but hot...Have I mentioned that the sandstone formations are fascinating? Ust, James, and the mongrels trudging back to camp, where were those tinaja's again? Oh yeah, GPS was on the fritz, so no location information. Navigation skils are real kids, don't get lazy! We hit the tinaja's on the way back, but by then we were all exhausted and so I didn't get any pictures.
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We made it back to camp about 1300, by which time it was also ~90º with no shade. Most of the afternoon was passed drinking beer and ice water under the Goats awning. Once night fell we had ourselves some juicy steaks and crashed, but not before I got a great shot of the Milkey Way.
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Monday morning came and we packed up camp. James and Ustadza had to work Tuesday, and my Dad came down from central Utah to join me for the next two nights. On the way back in with Dad following in his 4Runner, we stopped to wonder about the ranchers who lived out here last century.
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Why sure Dad, I'll model for ya...no, no you didn't ask, but I'm gonna do it anyway...
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I don’t think I’ve seen the Milky Way for almost 20 years. Maybe more... this is inspiration to finish getting my truck back together! Looks like an awesome trip!
 
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@cps432, what more inspiration can I provide to get you out? More than 20yrs, that sounds rough! Sorry for the long delay, I have many omre photo's, but between work and continuing education I find myself critically short on time.
 
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I made a valiant effort to get another post up yesterday morning after work, had about half this post complete when suddenly my alarm was going off and it was time to get ready for another day in the life...laptop still on my lap from 6hrs prior!

After inspecting the area around the old ranch house/line cabin, we continued on our way, eventually making camp at the end of one particularly remote road. Fire was started, then steak and corn on the cob were grilled to go with our beer. With The Wife now safely home in our bed, there was no further need for complicated things like a tent to fuzz up my view of the stars; Tarp and sleeping bag is all the dogs and I bothered with, adding a 3/4 Thermarest for luxury.
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The next morning we had a leisurely start for our day, finally hitting the trail a hair after 8am. Anyone who knows me (or my Dad for that matter) knows that by "trail," what I really mean is the general direction in which our nose points, typically not involving any form of trail.
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Using the old USGS topos, we wound our way out of the small bowl we had camped in and climbed up some impressively designed sandstone formations just as the sun was climbing over the eastern plateau

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The views on the way up were a little disappointing (full sarcasm intended)...
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At the edge of the eastern plateau we found amazing views, and a 1934 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (now USGS) marker, complete with large tripod wired in place to hold an old school battery powered lantern to make it visible from other survey points across the broad valley. How do we know the lantern (I'm assuming the lantern anyway) was battery powered and not oil of some sort? Well, because the piles of batteries were still there!
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Marble Canyon in the distance
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By that time it was starting to get hot, so we completed a circuit of the plateau and returned to camp, finding more stunning sandstone formations on the way
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We made the decision to head towards a shadier section of the greater plateau to spend the afternoon showering and cooling off under a giant juniper. First though we made a short detour to a curious looking formation on the topo. Once there, I was excited to find Puebloan ruins and some artifacts.

A small cliff dwelling that first tipped us off we had stumbled upon something more than an ancient campsite where someone dropped a lone pott
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One example of common pot shards
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From the above picture we could see walls atop the formations. It took a bit of effort but when we reached the top, we discovered far more than a lowly shelter. The top of this particular formation was covered multiple layers deep in the remnants of long crumbled walls using stone hauled in from elsewhere, indicating a decent (though small) village once inhabited this place. Based upon other nearby sites, a likely timeframe is A.D. 1050-1150. This is all that remains stacked now.
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We stayed true to the plan, and after a quick lunch found our shady campsite for the night
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Another night under the stars...
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The night's chill caught us off guard, causing doggies and I to initially share a mummy bag before I got up at 0100 and grabbed the wifes now unused mummy bag to cover the dogs, allowing me to zip up and them to remain covered and warm. The first half of the night spent shivering took it's toll on all three of us however, and Gigi was quick to cuddle up around the mornings cooking fire once I got up.
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Asher isn't known for sitting still and was anxious to get going for the day, so he had to be held for his portrait...
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While on our last morning hike before returning to our respective homes we reached what we had hoped to be one of the more amazing views of the trip, but the smoke from CA wildfires completely obliterated Marble Canyon. We did meet a most interesting local however...
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The drive home was blissfully uneventful, which is always boring...exactly how you want a long highway run to be.
 
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Thank you all! Hopefully I can get a short video put together, but video work is the wife's specialty so is on her schedule.
 

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