My garden is finally planted so I was able to justify a day of hiking in the San Rafael Swell.

David and I headed south on Saturday morning, in David’s Ford Explorer. (Yep, David just bought a four door Explorer and we needed to give it a test run.)

On the Hanksville highway heading south, we turned off a short distance from the Goblin Valley State Park road, and headed west to the edge of the swell. Here we parked at the end of a closed jeep trail and hiked over the hill to the northwest so we could drop into Old Woman Wash. The first mile was pleasant hiking in the bottom of the sandy wash leading in a northwest direction.

And what a beautiful clear Spring day it was for hiking! This is exactly what I live for… sometimes.

About the time we started hitting dry falls in the canyon floor, the canyon was deep with shear cliffs on both sides.

There were even a few Indian pictographs, petroglyphs and an old signature by R. F. Drake dated 1924.

We climbed the south side until we hit the old jeep trail that ran along a bench at the foot of the cliffs. This made for very easy hiking.

Soon we located a small class ‘D’ natural arch called Skylight Arch, that we knew was in that area. By then, there were a number of step like sandstone shelves where it would of been easy to walk right by the small arch.

We spent quite a while in that area just enjoying the scenery.

We then continued up the jeep trail until the cliffs broke off on the south side. We hiked into the break and could see that it was possible to go back via this south fork of Old Woman Wash. There were some additional canyon and cliffs to the southwest but they would have to wait for another day to be explored.

Descending this side drainage was easy enough. It wasn’t long before we were walking on another jeep trail which took us back to David’s Explorer. This was the same jeep trail that we had stumbled upon the last time we were in this area.

There was still plenty of daylight by the time we were back at the vehicle but we decided to call it a day anyway. (I think I hear my garden calling.)

On the way through the Price/Helper area, we took a short side trip to visit the Castle Gate cemetery and take a few pictures before finishing the ride home.

Anyway, another very delightful day in the canyons.

Hiking mileage = 3 easy miles.