I’d forgotten that summers can be hot. Still, the memories of months of cold are fresh enough that I am enjoying the nice weather, no matter how hot it is. This last week or so have had highs in the 80’s/low 90’s with nighttime lows in the 50’s. Lots of sun!
On Saturday, my brother David and I drove down to the east side of the San Rafael Swell area to do some natural arch hunting. An arch that we had visited several years ago turned out to be a different arch (Tip Top Arch) so we went back with new directions to find Camelhead Arch and a newly discovered Mystery Arch.
Just like the hike to Tip Top Arch, we parked at the mouth of a small canyon and hiked into the swell until we found a climbable ramp that would take us to the top and over the cliffs. This rock ramp was much longer, steeper and strewn with larger boulders to clamber over. In the heat, it was exhausting work and we quickly ran low on water.
When we got to the gap in the cliffs, we discovered we could only descent a short distance before being stopped by dry falls. This was not the way to Camelhead Arch. In fact, now that we had seen both sides of the cliffs, there was o access to the area we were led to believe contained Camelhead Arch. The description and coordinates for Camelhead Arch were all wrong. We had again partaken in the ‘unprofitable pursuit of large undomesticated waterfowl’. (Wild Goose Chase.)
Hiking back down the ramp turned out to be the hard part of the hike. By the time we reached level ground, we were exhausted. Luckily the truck was less than a half-mile away over fairly flat terrain.
After we got back to the vehicle, we spent quite a bit of time driving up and down the access roads while using binoculars to scope the cliffs for natural arches. We found a nice sized arch and a smaller bridge in another area that were completely inaccessible to hikers. Neither were Camelhead Arch or Mystery Arch.