Not all who wander, Part Two

Part two of the Wandering found me in the South Coyote Buttes (SCB), a special management area  that only allows 20 people per day to visit because…..SHUT UP! The area isn’t any more delicate than White Pockets, so I really don’t know why it is very restricted other than …SHUT UP!! It is easier to get these permits that the more famous sister to the North: The Wave.  Typically, you have to get these permits on-line 3 months in advance of the date you plan to go. I put in back on August 1st and had no problem getting the date I wanted in December. September, October and November were already filled.  On the day I visited, all permits were gone, but I did see some available in January because people tend to not want to be there at that time because it is friggin cold. This area is known for its colors and “teepees” of rock, and isn’t too at West of White Pocket. Maybe 4-5 miles as the crow flies, but one needs a permit here because..SHUT UP!

I started at the Cottonwood Cove Trailhead in SCB after another 4×4 ride through sand and rock and dogs experiencing weightlesness. Spotted what I thought was an Indian ruin on a small hilltop and stopped to check it out. Yep, it was a small one.


There are many of these hilltop ruins in the area, as well as a mess of pottery shards. No idea why they were shattered to begin with.

The trailhead was supposed to have a sign-in book but I never saw one. But I didn’t bother to look either. I attached my permit to my pack and away I went. 1/2 mile of deep, red sand to plod though. Who put this area uphill in sand anyway?

But it wasn’t long before the sights peered above the ridgeline and the Wandering began. It was cold and overcast, which didn’t help with pictures at all. The colors would have been very vibrant if the sun cooperated. 

I can’t put in enough pictures to do it justice so you will have to put up with what I put in here.  Many small domes and solitary “statues” abound. 

Again, I wish the sun was out so the colors would explode , but it as still great to look at. The folds and intricate layers of stone and color is something(like most things here) need to be seen in person.

Just let your mind float about and think for yourself what these formations look like. 

People think this formation above looks like an ice cream cone, or an atomic explosion. I see a brain with the brain stem attached. 

Here, the colors seep out from the rock, or so it seems, and flows towards you. I see a sacrificial altar with the blood flowing downhill, but that’s me. Could be lava flowing downhill too. 

Above, it is the famous “Pizza the Hut” from Spaceballs.  Grotesquely marvelous. 

The stone just kept going and going. Walk up, then down and around, then up, and around. One doesn’t even realize that you have not taken a drink for hours. Yellows, purples, magentas, and other shades just swirl in neat lines , or at times, floods the area. 

You can follow the lines around curves and even rocks that have weather out from the larger block of rock. 

This place just explodes with colors, and I had it to myself. I never saw anyone else except my hiking partner and my dogs. And the baby bobcat and yes, a quick glimpse of a mountain lion.  Life is everywhere here.  Even if the land seems so desolate.

Fine layers folded over itself testify of the forces of nature that formed this area, part of the greater Colorado Plateau and not too far Northeast of the North rim of the Grand Canyon. The Colorado Rivers flows just to the East in Marble Canyon. 

Silent sentinels of a day long ago valiantly stand up to the forces of nature, but they too crumble like a snowflakes’ self-esteem. 

In the distance, more and more revealed itself, and I knew I didn’t have the time to get to it all. Self-imposed time-constraints prevented a lot of area from being more closely explored. 

In the distance of the above picture, resides the famous “Wave” of North Coyote Buttes. It was the promised land I could not enter but like Moses, I was granted an opportunity to see the land.  I as so tempted the do the 2-3 miles(as the crow flies) to get “lost” there but I know the rangers roam about there. Someday…..

On the Northeast edge of the buttes things changed. There were a lot of these “boxworks” to be found, and more numerous thin layers of strata  than elsewhere. A slight touch and you could break the fins that are jutting out in a last gasp to defy erosion.

After this, it as another 4×4 ride to the next trailhead named Paw Hole, but there will be no pictures from there at this time. Ah, heck with it. Here are some from that area. 

Here, the rocks were more reddish and orange in nature, and the sun popped out to give it some life. 

The formation above just glowed in the late afternoon sun. For a moment, it stood out from everything else, and then just as quickly, faded as the sun did. 

This area of exploration, and there is a whole lot more here to shake a stick at, is between Page, Arizona and Kanab, Utah in between Highway 89 and 89A. The main road to get there is House Rock Valley Road, which leads to several other trailheads including what is billed the longest slot canyon in the world, Buckskin Gulch. Just do a search of the Coyote Buttes on a search engine and it will lead to a wonder of land and exploration just waiting for the couch-potato and adventurer to come pay a visit. 

My wife has given me permission to go down each Friday to Kanab to try for a permit for The Wave. Someday, I’ll get there. Before the tree-hugging rock-lickers shut it all down. 






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