Monday, October 20, 2014

A Long Walk In the Park


On Jim’s birthday we had a very nice lunch at Café Diablo in Torrey. Unfortunately Jim and I, Suzanne and Mark suffered from some gastric distress after we ate. Bad batch of black beans, maybe? Jim and Mark were resting that evening, but the ladies decided to take a short hike at Chimney Rock to watch the sunset.

It wasn’t the best sunset we’ve ever seen, but we felt like we worked off at least a little of our dessert.




The next day Mark and Bobbie suggested a hike in one of their favorite slot canyons, one that we hadn’t done, Little Wild Horse/Bell Canyon, near Goblin Valley State Park. They didn’t mind that it was an hour and a half drive to get there, so even though driving eighty miles for an 8 mile hike isn’t my favorite thing, we decided to join the fun.


Unfortunately it was UEA weekend, where Utah public teachers attend a conference and the students, along with their extra-large LDS families, all pile in their minivans to go camping and hiking over the four day weekend. And it appeared most of them decided to go to Little Wild Horse Canyon. This may be one reason why, an article I read about the hike that makes it sound like your grandmother could do it.


Here is my favorite quote from the description: “This hike is suitable for just about everyone. If you enjoy a long walk in the park then you can probably complete this hike with little problem.”

Since the crowds were heading to Little Wild Horse, we decided to go counterclockwise and hike through Bell Canyon first, hoping Little Wild Horse would be less crowded on our way back.

A bad omen as we entered Bell Canyon?


We started off being almost alone for the first 4 miles or so, only meeting up with a woman and her daughter who needed Mark’s help in getting over a rock obstacle. As you can see, Mark is pretty handy. And with those long arms and legs he didn’t need much help getting himself up and over like the rest of us did. He was a big help, and I’m not sure Suzanne, Bobbie, or I could have made it without his assistance. Well, I’m not even sure Jim would have made it.


This certainly wasn’t your usual walk in the park.



Bell Canyon is not a real narrow slot, but the geology was interesting and the scrambling was entertaining.




In between canyons we took a break for lunch after climbing up a dirt road for what seemed like a very long time.



We began seeing lots of families and groups of kids in the wash just before entering Little Wild Horse Canyon, but at the start of the slot we were pretty much alone.


Mark and Suzanne, playing for the cameraman.






The not-so-fun part came when we were halfway through Little Wild Horse, and the crowds of families and groups with mobs of children came our way. There wasn’t much room for two people to pass, but we sucked in our guts and let them go by, and let them go by, and let them go by for what seemed like forever. Bad timing on our part. Kim, you would have climbed the walls to get out!

These aren’t the best photos, but you get the idea.



We didn’t think to take any pictures, maybe Mark or Suzanne did, but at one point where it was really narrow, kids were straddling above our heads with one foot on each side of the slot. Absolutely crazy! And we saw quite a few people carrying toddlers in those giant backpacks. Not sure how they even made it through some of the narrow parts. And to add to the fun a few people even brought their dogs.

In spite of the crowds it was a beautiful hike, though, all nine miles of it. Just a long walk in the park, with lots of playing on the jungle gym. I would highly recommend you avoid it over UEA weekend!





  1. We really enjoy hiking in slot canyons. We like the up close and personal feeling we get.
    I wonder if the person who wrote the description actually did the "walk in the park." Geesh...looks like a wonderful hike. Not to thrilled with all those kids though.

  2. Those slot canyons in the southwest are absolutely fascinating! Hope I eventually get to see one.

  3. Beautiful hike and beautiful pictures none the less!

  4. Your pictures at Chimney Rock are gorgeous. Sorry to hear about the bad food. Nothing I hate more than practically poisoning myself and paying for the privilege. I'm with you about driving so far for the hike but wow what a great looking place. Your pictures are fantastic. SO SORRY you were there when the hoards of too large families were too. I've never heard of UEA week-end. Does it happen more often than just in October?

  5. The sunset played beautifully off Chimney Rock:)

    Vacations really wreck havoc on our life! John and I think that schools should be open all year with limited vacations (now that we are retired!). It is amazing how the very large Utah families can make for a noisy unpleasant hike. While it is good to see families outdoors and spending time together, they could do it in another area:) Haha!

    Despite the people the slots look awesome. We'll have to get to them. Your photos came out terrific.

  6. Certainly not a walk in any park I've strolled through - but way more fun! Even with the flash flood of people, it looks like a great place. Love the gnarly tree photo. Even though it was a longer drive to get to this one, I'm marveling at how many places there are to see from your boondock!

  7. I'm surprised about that write up. I've done wild horse canyon a couple times, but never bell canyon because I heard it was a lot of rock scrambling. Good thing you guys are so athletic.

  8. LOL!!!!!!!! We'll see ... because if I ever do that hike, they'll be there.