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Prosit
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Prosit
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PostMon May 08, 2023 8:21 pm 
Iíve recently returned from a fun trip on the Colorado Plateau. I spent much of my time in various parts of the Escalante, Capitol Reef, and the San Rafael Swell, but I also went to an area that was new to me on this trip, which I havenít read much about elsewhere. The Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness (BRCW) is immediately west of Colorado National Monument (CNM) and shares the strata of the CNM, with huge Wingate cliffs capped with Kayenta, and Entrada cliffs above that. The canyons drain from the high plateau at Glade Park toward the northwest into the Colorado Riverís Ruby and Horsethief Canyons. These are deep, quiet, colorful canyons, every bit as good as those further southwest, and I enjoyed them very much. The Entrada layer in the BRCW is similar to the Entrada in Arches National Park and the concentration of arches here is said to be second only to Arches NP. I did a day hike through the popular Rattlesnake Canyon Arches, and then met up with an old friend of mine for a four-day loop down Mee Canyon and up Knowles Canyon. Here are some photos.
This image of the southwest rim of Rattlesnake Canyon shows the lower Wingate cliffs, with the Kayenta bench, and sculpted Entrada cliffs above.  Most arches in this area are formed by tall alcoves in the Entrada like those shown here.  When those features separate from the cliff, they form an arch.
This image of the southwest rim of Rattlesnake Canyon shows the lower Wingate cliffs, with the Kayenta bench, and sculpted Entrada cliffs above. Most arches in this area are formed by tall alcoves in the Entrada like those shown here. When those features separate from the cliff, they form an arch.
Hole in the Bridge Arch
Hole in the Bridge Arch
Cedar Tree Arch
Cedar Tree Arch
Hole in the ceiling of an alcove - an arch in the making
Hole in the ceiling of an alcove - an arch in the making
Rattlesnake Arch from below
Rattlesnake Arch from below
Rattlesnake Arch
Rattlesnake Arch
On the way down into Mee Canyon - interesting feet!
On the way down into Mee Canyon - interesting feet!
Tafoni on the descent into Mee Canyon
Tafoni on the descent into Mee Canyon
The detail here was exquisite.  Many of those columns and features are separated from the wall, like tiny vertical arches.  It reminded me of an ornate church or cathedral.
The detail here was exquisite. Many of those columns and features are separated from the wall, like tiny vertical arches. It reminded me of an ornate church or cathedral.
The alcove in upper Mee Canyon is perhaps the largest on the Colorado Plateau.  Itís challenging to show its scale in a photograph.  It is almost unbelievably large and deep; much larger than those in Muley Twist, Fiftymile Creek, or Coyote Gulch, and very cool to see.
The alcove in upper Mee Canyon is perhaps the largest on the Colorado Plateau. Itís challenging to show its scale in a photograph. It is almost unbelievably large and deep; much larger than those in Muley Twist, Fiftymile Creek, or Coyote Gulch, and very cool to see.
The upstream entrance of the alcove, with my friend standing before its dark, cavernous shadow.
The upstream entrance of the alcove, with my friend standing before its dark, cavernous shadow.
Traveling down upper Mee Canyon
Traveling down upper Mee Canyon
In upper Mee
In upper Mee
Lair of the Abominable Sand Monster
Lair of the Abominable Sand Monster
The second Green Collared Lizard I saw on this trip
The second Green Collared Lizard I saw on this trip
This one was very friendly and climbed up a little to greet us
This one was very friendly and climbed up a little to greet us
I thought its striking color would look great on the red rock, so I asked if it would mind climbing up on a nearby rock.  It did so readily, and proudly posed for me.
I thought its striking color would look great on the red rock, so I asked if it would mind climbing up on a nearby rock. It did so readily, and proudly posed for me.
Lower Mee Canyon widens and features some nice towers
Lower Mee Canyon widens and features some nice towers
Heading up lower Knowles Canyon
Heading up lower Knowles Canyon
An impressive tower in lower Knowles Canyon
An impressive tower in lower Knowles Canyon
An almost fluorescent boulder of the Chinle formation, resting on green grass.
An almost fluorescent boulder of the Chinle formation, resting on green grass.
Our last morning in Knowles Canyon, the clouds were very turbulent, but it didnít rain.
Our last morning in Knowles Canyon, the clouds were very turbulent, but it didnít rain.
Overhanging rock detail
Overhanging rock detail
Upper Knowles Canyon
Upper Knowles Canyon
A Wingate arch we found
A Wingate arch we found
Looking down Knowles Canyon from the rim.
Looking down Knowles Canyon from the rim.

Waterman, jaysway, ChinookPass, chiwakum, Slim, runup, RAW-dad, geyer, John Mac, RichP, rubywrangler, neek  awilsondc, Gimpilator  GaliWalker  Kascadia
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostTue May 09, 2023 5:25 am 
Prosit wrote:
Amazing! eek.gif It reminds me a little bit of (would you believe it?) Ash Cave in Ohio's Hocking Hills. This looks even bigger though*!
* I looked it up: Mee Canyon alcove: 300ft deep(!), 200ft wide, 80ft high Ash Cave: 100ft deep, 700ft wide/long, 90ft high

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani
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Stefan
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PostTue May 09, 2023 10:23 am 
cool! I never knew that place existed. thanks for sharing!

Art is an adventure.
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BW
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BW
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PostTue May 09, 2023 7:17 pm 
Spectacular all around--from the canyons to the caves to the lizards and arches. Thanks!

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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puzzlr
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PostThu May 11, 2023 5:34 pm 
Beautiful area and photos of it. Thanks for the post. I love wandering around the sandstone formations all over the SW. They're endless!

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cathorse
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PostTue May 16, 2023 8:51 am 
Great pics and fascinating area - thanks for sharing! Did you link Mee and Knowles Canyons via the Colorado, on foot or via pack raft or???

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Prosit
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Prosit
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PostTue May 16, 2023 8:58 pm 
cathorse wrote:
Did you link Mee and Knowles Canyons via the Colorado, on foot or via pack raft or???
We connected them on foot along the Colorado. We also connected them on top by walking from the Knowles trailhead to the Mee trailhead, so we did a complete loop. My friend had a low clearance vehicle that day, and the Black Ridge Road has a couple higher clearance spots, so this allowed us to leave both cars at Knowles. There are several established, reserved campsites for rafters along that stretch of the Colorado that are very popular and are always booked, but you can camp up around Moore Canyon area if you want to. There is a section of the route along the Colorado that has exposure. One ledge in particular is a couple hundred feet right above the water, but it isnít difficult. Likewise, there are three class 2-3 spots on the way into Mee Canyon. One involves walking an exposed ledge that gets narrow at the end; another involves a ladder.

cathorse
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cathorse
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PostTue May 16, 2023 9:07 pm 
Thanks!! i can tell I finally need to hunt down that Kelsey book...

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