So, this spring my girlfriend Steph and I decided that for my last spring break before we both graduate college and have to find real jobs, we wanted to go for a backpacking trip. My birthday was also during spring break, so it would also be a treat to be on a trip for my birthday. She had never been on a true backpacking trip before, and I had already been getting her ready for a trip by getting her an osprey pack for Christmas, and letting her inherit my old pad and sleeping bag since she didn't own a pad and her sleeping bag was an old rectangular synthetic bag with no hood
To add to this, we invited her best friend Tamara and her fiancé Jeremy to come too, neither of which had ever been backpacking before, and had mostly car camping equipment and very little backpacking equipment, so my work was cut out for me.
Prior to the trip, we went through what they actually needed, and what they were allowed to bring, and I gave them a simple list of things for them to pack. Luckily, they had enough basic gear, along with some of my old gear and borrow stuff from family to make it work pretty well.
After doing a lot of searching for a fun trip, I decided that the needles section of canyonlands should be in prime season, and that the Salt Creek trail would give everyone a trip to remember without having to worry about water sources or other technical difficulties that may arise from desert hiking.
The only hiccup was that we would have to start kind of late on the first day because we had passed the deadline to get reserved permits, so I had to be at the visitor center at 8am, and we would need to shuttle one of the cars to the end trail head at Cathedral Butte. We ended up doing that the night prior, however we were so exhaust from driving all night to get there and shuttling the car, everyone ended up sleeping in till noon while I got the permit and packed all the backpacks up.
The morning of the first day gave us the views that we were all hoping for, a clear sky and a beautiful landscape!
Me and the girlfriend at the trailhead
To get to the peekaboo trailhead, the start of the actual hiking trail, we would have to follow a 4WD road that goes through Salt Creek. The road literally goes through the middle of the creek, and so within a half mile, we found ourselves wading through the ankle deep water. Here there was no trail to follow, just the flowing water. When I do this trip again, I will probably start out from the Squaw Flat trailhead, i think it would be a little more scenic and drier.
A nice sheet of ice left over from the winter snow :-)
Finally spotting the peekaboo double arch, where we also spotted out first Indian ruins
These ruins were just the beginning with many more spotted along the route
After traveling past the peekaboo arches, the canyon began to wind through the desert landscape and dig itself a narrower path with huge walls on either side.
All sorts of new rock formations started to show up, and the sky began to turn colors as the sun set on our first day, setting up camp just after spotting crescent arch.
i'll make two more posts with day 2 and day 3
Also, all of these photos can be viewed full size by right clicking on "open image in new tab" or something like it depending on what browser you're using.