Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wanting to avoid the memorial day crowd the wife and I decided to try the hopefully less known Yellow Rock in the GSENM. The original plan was to start on the Yellow Rock trail, loop around through lower death valley, then drop into either Sam Pollock Canyon, or the further down into the Hackberry. This was obviously overly ambitious for us backpacking newbies so my backup plan was Yellow Rock, camp near there, loop around to the Box of the Paria through Cottonwood Wash and back to the parking lot. Many do this as a day hike but I thought it would be cool to camp
After reading other trip reports I understood the initial trail from the valley floor to the top would be quite the workout, but somehow I did not understand that their was an actually designated, easily identifiable trail. So Renee (wife) and I risking life and limb, (jk but it did push our comfort level a couple of times especially with semi-heavy packs) found our own trail less scramble to the top.
I forgot to mention that the bugs(biting gnats) around the Hackberry Trail head Parking lot were horrific. I thought once we hiked away from the water things would improve, I was sadly mistaken!
After the very demanding climb to the top Renee was already to the point of calling it a day! I couldnt blame her going up the wrong way was very difficult and the worst part was we could not stop to take a breather as the biting gnats were still all over us every time you paused even for a moment.
Once on top Yellow Rock was clearly visible as was the correct trail. We followed the trail to yellow rock but once again the gnats were terrible. At this point we realized that camping would be very uncomfortable because of the gnats. Using bug spray was futile! We made the decision to hike to the top of Yellow Rock, then return to the car following the correct trail (going down where we went up would have been pretty dangerous with our packs) we dropped our packs off under a Pondorosa, and scrambled to the top of Yellow Rock. Yellow Rock itself was amazing and as was mentioned on this site one of the best short hikes in the area, especially if you follow the correct trail!
Even though our initial plans were thwarted, this TR could be have been posted on the "what was the worst ill never ever do that again trip thread, by my own stupidity, over packing (did I really bring 4 apples, 1/2 pound of cherries, carrots, etc just for snacks WTF?), getting lost and especially the biting demon gnats from hell the trip was a success.
-Yellow Rock is friggin awesome
-I learned my wife is the MAN. I underestimated her!
-Dont go near the Paria area in late May (later read in guide book that the little gnats are bad from late May to July)
-Dont bring the kitchen sink backpacking
-Cottonwood Canyon Road is very scenic in late May. The yellow wildflowers were amazing!
All and All a good day in Southern Utah!