Backcountry Post Meet-up at Temple Mountain

For years now, I've been a member of a forum called Backcountry Post, or BCP for short.  In April, a meet up was organized for members and the location selected was in the area of Temple Mountain in the San Rafael Swell.  It was an opportunity meet up with some great people who also love the outdoors, some for the first time while yet others, a reuniting.

- Day 1 -
April 4 - 6, 2019

I arrived late Friday with just enough to set up my camp and get acquainted with others around the campfire.  The following morning plans were made for various activities.  The bulk of our group split into two smaller groups.  One group went out to hunt down a rock art panel to the north.  I opted to join up with some familiar faces in Adam and Jackson, along with Jackson's wife, and Brent who drove all the way out from Nebraska to participate in the meetup.  

Our objective was to hike a nearby loop that joins Ding and Dang Canyons.  Due to recent rains, the dirt road from Little Wild Horse Canyon Trailhead, which also happens to be a wash for a good distance, had some mucky spots that we judged to be too risky for Jackson's Subaru, the vehicle we all rode in.  So we just parked at LWH and hiked an extra mile or so up the trailhead for Ding and Dang.  Jackson had done the hike before, but in the opposite direction we would go on to do it, so it was a somewhat new experience for him too.

We set off in a counter-clockwise direction starting with an ascent up Ding.

Early on, there were a couple of fun little ramps that brought us up into the good stuff.

We then had to descend back down into the canyon bottom.

It was here where we got into some narrows for the first time.

The first pool of water and chockstone we encountered was easily overcome with some simple stemming.

This was followed by a lengthier pool of water we were all able to bridge over.

Just after that was another poole of water that was unavoidable and ended up getting our feet wet for the first time.  After some additional scrambles up some more minor obstacles, we made our way up through the upper canyon where it widened up again and required some bypasses around some larger deep potholes.

At the top end of the canyon were some impressive walls of Tafoni.

After a nice rest with some lunch, it was time to round our way over to Dang Canyon.

Dang Canyon was equally impressive from the start, and almost immediately required some short down climbs.

For somer reason I didn't take as many pictures as we made our way down.  Probably because there were so many more obstacles requiring some good teamwork and assistance at times to maneuver down.  There were one drop that required the aid of a hand-line that was already anchored in place.  Other drops that required some exposed bypasses along steep and narrow ledges along the canyon wall, and yet other drops and chockstones requiring some additional down climbs, stems, chimneys, and bridge moves.

The final move at the end lead us into another wader that was all but unavoidable.  Rather than putting in the effort to bridge or stem over it, we all just went for the wet way and just waded it out.

In short order, we had closed the loop and made our way back to the car.

On our way back to camp, we pulled over for a look at the Temple Mountain Wash rock art panel. The pictographs were among the largest I'd ever seen, easily reaching 6-8 feet in height from top to bottom.

Back at camp, we relaxed away the rest of the afternoon, enjoying views across the way of Temple Mountain itself as the sun made its way downward in the western sky.

As it drew closer to sunset, I went out for a stroll up along the side of Flat Top Mountain adjacent to our camp to scope out the views from there and take in the sunset.

The next morning we all broke ways.  On my drive back home, I opted for a more scenic backcountry route by continuing up the Temple Mountain Wash Road.

Ultimately I made way out to Swasey Cabin.

From there, I checked out neighboring "Lone Warrior" pictograph.

Then made my way out to Dutchman Arch.

And concluded with a stop at the Head of Sinbad panel, which was very impressive, before getting back out to the highway for the drive home.

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