The next morning we woke up to snow. None of our weather reports predicted snow. It was quite the surprise and very cold. In times like these, I love my truck camper. We were warm as a bug in a rug!
As the day went on, the sun quickly melted the snow and we had a great day hiking, resting, and shooting pictures. The views from this camp spot were breathtaking with 270 degrees of canyons. Absolutely incredible.
The next day we were off to Candlestick camp. This would take us over the famous Murphy’s Hogback. There are a few training hills before Murphy’s Hogback that you never hear about. They challenged us and got us ready for the big one. For heavy vehicles like ours, it’s a challenging up and down.
I think it is difficult to gage the largeness of these hills in the pictures. The up on Murphy’s Hogback is long, narrow, steep, and very close to the edge. The down has some steep parts, is close to the edge, and has the famous overhang, which would be challenging for a tall hard-sided camper.
Above: One of the training hills
Above: The sway bar linkage broke, but was not a significant break – click to enlarge
And what would any good adventure trip be without something breaking? A few miles later, I was navigating a down when I heard a clunk sound from my front end. I broke the right sway-bar linkage. I was thinking of undoing these before the trip, but didn’t. Fortunately, this was not a significant break.
The rest of the way to Candlestick wasn’t too bad. There were some hard rocks with potholes, and a few more ups and downs. And big views!
The camp is near the edge of the White Rim Sandstone. The layer here is very thick. There is lots of great hiking from this campsite and views of the Green River.
There were lots of islands on the rocks where water, cryptobiotic organisms, flowers, and shrubs brought life.
Cryptobiotic organisms are organisms that can survive in extreme environmental conditions such as drought, freezing temperatures, and low oxygen by stopping all metabolic processes including reproduction, growth, and recovery.
Cryptobiotic organisms are dormant until the environmental conditions become favorable, at which time they will resume metabolic reproduction, growth, and recovery. The classic example of a cryptobiotic organism is the brine shrimp, aka Sea Monkeys. In Canyonlands National Park, the cryptobiotic organisms consist of a thin veneer of knobby black crust which can be easily destroyed by tires or foot traffic.
Our last day on the trail we had Hardscrabble Hill to go. My wife says to think of Hogback as the training hill for Hardscrabble. Hardscrabble is longer, steeper, and narrower. The turns are many and very tight. I remember this steep left turn with the edge to the left, the hard rock to the right. I remember thinking, I may not make this turn; full thrusters with the diesel, blindly turning, praying my wheels stay on the track. This is where the diesel shines, providing the power and torque for this hill.