ArizonaHikers Portal Index
HomeHome   BoardBoard   AZH GearAZH Gear  FAQFAQ  RulesRules   SearchSearch
MemberlistMembers  ArticlesArticles  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  LinksLinks      RegisterRegister
ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messages   Log inLog in
The Maze

Printable version
Tales from the Trail
Hiking The Grand Canyon
Wilderness Survival
Gear Reviews
Flora and Fauna
Trail Food and Recipes
Book Reviews
Author Article
Queen of the Walkabout

Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Articles: 35
Comments: 1
 Posted: 7/28/2004, 7:50 pm

When one reads a lot of Ed Abbey, no matter what you think of him as a man, you cannot help but be drawn in by his love of the land. His descriptions put all kinds of thoughts in your head. As they were meant to.

I first read about the Maze in "Desert Solitaire". One year I found myself at Hite, Utah fueling up and suddenly purchased a Trails Illustrated map of the Maze. I purchased extra fuel, water and food and drove looking for the unmarked dirt road between the Dirty Devil and Colorado river bridges on Hwy 95.

I found the road and started driving. This area is part of the Glen Canyon NRA known as the "Orange Cliffs", soon you pass a kiosk which gives more information. Or not as I chose not to look to close. After all, I was exploring, at least for me. Before I stopped at Hite I had no more intention of going to the Maze than the man in the moon. Did I say I can be spontaneous??? I had a couple of guide books along and decided to give them the once over when I camped. On I drove and drove, the sun was lowering in the sky and casting a marvelous glow on the eroded towers. I car camped off the road a little ways up a wash ( this was before my flash flood experience in the Paria and showed a marked lack of desert common sense).

The next day I knew more about my destination. I knew I needed a permit to car camp, I tried unsuccessfully to call the Hans Flat Ranger station on my cell phone. At Water Hole flat I took the turn to climb up the Flint trail, out of my way but I felt I should try to play by the rules--Ed was probably rolling over in his grave. Besides after his description of driving down the Flint trail I didn't want to miss it.
Well, it's probably a lot easier than when he did it, but it's definitely not civilized. In a Jeep I still had to back up and make some 2-3 point turns at some of the switchbacks.

At Hans Flat there was one ranger in residence who seemed lonely, he talked a lot and was very friendly. I had no trouble getting two nights at Dollhouse 1 and one night at Chimney Rock. He looked out at my Jeep Wrangler with its huge tires and winch and pronounced I would have no problems. He noted the other ranger was out patrolling the Land of Standing Rocks in their CJ.

The Maze is unique in that its roads are rough, there are no services, and you must be self sufficient with yourself, vehicle and supplies. And this is a national park. Kinda refreshing. I head out, enjoying the truely spectacular views from the top of the Flint trail at the aptly named Lands' End, no human made things in sight as far as you can see, and that's pretty far.

I return the way I came then take the turn to the Land of Standing Rocks. At Teapot rock some vehicles are car camped with some mountain bikers. Past Teapot the road is rough, follows shelfs and at times I get out and walk to look for it.

As I drive along the views almost cause whiplash with my head rotating. The views into the fins of "Ernies' Country" is incredible, it reminds me of Arches Natl park.
Soon the towers of the Wall camp, Lizard rock, Chimney Rock and other equally gravity defying stone spires comes into view.

I proceed to Dollhouse 1, at the end of the road, a private campsite that is four wheeling up until you park. A nice campsite is located near a small tree and a large flat cooking rock--this is where I camp. The campsite is between two massive sandstone pillars, one with an eye of the needle portal; and a view to the east.

I have the campsite to myself; although at times of demand you may have to share your site. There is one other vehicle at Dollhouse 3--- far from my camp.

As these are impacted sites, watch your food, the ringtails are pretty aggressive, one getting into the trash I had in my Jeep at about 2am.
The little bugger, I opened the door---his/her tail was sticking out of the bag. I couldn't resist giving it a little tug and jumping back. It was like a pinball went off inside the jeep. I ended up locking up the trash in a metal box.

This trip I do dayhiking. I take a trail down to the Colorado river, to Spanish bottom where I see a herd of 10-12 deer. I hike to the start of the Cataract rapids and chat up some river runners, they can't believe I drove to the Maze. I also hike along the "joints" of the Dollhouse, out to an overlook of Surprise canyon, and visit a small grainery.

Two nights later I move my camp to Chimney Rock. This is a major trailhead with several destinations departing from here. I set up my camp the farthest away from the trailhead but I needn't worry, the only person I see is the ranger. Here I had the most wonderful night sky experience I have had (excepting in Anza Borrego camped out for the Leonid meteor shower).

I sleep with my head partially out of the low vestibule of my tent, on my back. I open and close my eyes as I nap, revealing the amazing changing night sky. It reveals the incomprehensible millions of stars, satellites, constellations, the incredible Milky Way, and others. There is no ambient light here. The darkness reminds me of a line/title in a song by Lenny Kravitz- "Black Velveteen". I feel if I reach out into it I will leave this earth. Maybe we are a part of this anyway. No wonder the native americans knew so much of this planet and its role in our solar system. How could you not see this night sky and not feel the "otherness" of it??

The next day I hike to the pictograph panel known as the Harvest Scene or the Bird Site. It's not as impressive as Horseshoe Canyon, but tucked away in the aptly named maze of canyons, its presence on the blank wall seems perfect. The figures are huge but fading in the harsh sun, yet they have lasted an estimated thousands of years. One figure reaches out with an exaggerated hand to some small animals. I wonder if the artist felt that special relationship with the animals, beyond a source of food and clothing.

I linger in the canyons and make my return to the trailhead at dusk. In this wild land I am thankful there are still areas not overrun with my kind. I feel jealously protective of this land. I felt the same way when I returned here years later in 2002. There were more rangers at Hans Flat, but not that many folks in the Maze.
On that trip it rained so hard we were stranded for three days due to impassable roads at both ends, until the road grader came in and bladed the Hite road. Thats' just par for the course in the Maze, a place you can spend a lifetime in just three days.

Rating: 4.67/5.00 [3]

Author Comments
I'll make rain with my spaceman powers!

Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Articles: 0
Comments: 3
 Posted: 7/29/2004, 7:48 pm  Post subject: The Maze

Excellent, Letty!
Rating: 0.00/5.00 [0]
I'll make rain with my spaceman powers!

Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Articles: 0
Comments: 3
 Posted: 7/29/2004, 7:48 pm  Post subject: The Maze

Excellent, Letty!
Rating: 0.00/5.00 [0]

Page 1 of 1
All times are GMT - 7 Hours

Jump to:  
You cannot post articles in this chapter
You cannot edit your articles in this chapter
You cannot delete your articles in this chapter
You cannot rate articles in this chapter
You cannot approve articles in this chapter

You cannot post comments in this chapter
You cannot edit your comments in this chapter
You cannot delete your comments in this chapter
You cannot rate comments in this chapter
You cannot approve comments in this chapter