Back in October we were fortunate to snag permits for a thru-hike of Salt Creek in Canyonlands. Many years had past since Kim and I had our seminal trip there in the early days of our relationship and it seemed it was time to finally take a trip back and remember what makes this place so extra-ordinary and special.
Beginning high above at the Cathedral Butte trailhead, we descended our way down the mesa top to the bottom of the wide canyon floor. Upper salt creek is wide and stunning with vast fields of grass, willows (around springs) and cottonwoods glowing along the main wash. Out guests this trip were Audrey and Brian, longtime friends of Kim’s originally from Las Vegas that recently moved to our neck of the woods in New Mexico. This would be their first trip into Canyon Country.
We spent a total of three nights in there, staying in the heart of Salt Creek. Quickly we found All American Man, Four Faces, and some other panels during the first day and the following where we hiked to our second camp.
Rain was in the forecast and quickly it became muddy and wet. Bushwacking through the tamarisk and willows along the creek soaked our gear and clothing. Nevertheless, we were able to make the best of the circumstances and take the day to hike to Angel Arch for a quick day trip. In an amazing moment of brilliance, Angel Arch was lit up through the passing storm for a brief 10 minute window.
Salt Creek has been a special place for Kim and I for a variety of reasons. Our hopes was that our nostalgia proved to be something more and we were thankful that Canyonlands delivered. The scenery, archeology, inclement weather, long days carrying the pack, good friends–it was a quick reminder that places like this exist to remind us of what we still all have in common.
Our final day was a push through sand, passing through Peekaboo camp and out along the main wash of the creek to the shuttle car. While some feet were complaining and our packs weighed more than when we started due to soaked gear, no one was in a hurry.
It was another perfect trip in Canyonlands.