ROADTRIP: INTO THE MAZE



A SOLO SCOUTING JOURNEY INTO THE MAZE


A solo Jeep trip into one of the most remote places in the continental U.S., the Maze district of Canyonlands national park, offered some interesting challenges and an amazing experience in the solitude and splendor of the wilder desert landscapes. The route chosen for the six day 450-mile journey was almost completely off pavement (and off grid) apart from the initial and final sections of the loop that started and ended at Moab, UT. The primary goal of the trip was to get an overall introduction to the Maze district and work on preparing for logistical contingencies in remote environments. This route goes north from Moab. then west to Green River before turning south into the San Rafael desert to reach the Maze district of the park. After a few days within the park boundaries, the route continues south into the Glen Canyon Recreation area and finally east to Blanding and back north to close the loop. The trip was conducted in October/November of 2015 in a single 4-door Jeep Wrangler.






DAY 1: MOAB TO KEG KNOLL

The first installment features the otherworldly landscapes of the San Rafael desert, where the journey on dirt begins: The familiar red rock landscape of Moab had already morphed into a dry sandy desert before I turned off pavement and onto the dirt just south of I-70. I was headed into the unknown (for me), on a journey about exploration and discovery in strange but beautiful landscapes kept wild by their inaccessibility… [read]





DAY 2: KEG KNOLL TO NORTH POINT

The second installment follows the journey into the national park: The night had been quite cold, probably in the high 30’s, and I was glad to see the morning sun shining bright. Packing up my gear, I paused to review the maps and the options for the day’s drive. Leaving Keg Knoll, I went west, back to the main road, and then headed south. The drive was easy and the flat desert seemed to go on forever in front of me… [read]





DAY 3: NORTH POINT TO GOLDEN STAIRCASE

The third installment takes us down the steep and winding Flint switchbacks to “under the ledge” country: Dawn transformed the landscape and it almost looked like a vast ocean rather than a deep canyon, all rendered in the blended tones of a watercolor painting. I packed up camp quickly, trying to get a head start on the forecasted rain. It was critical that I get down the switchbacks before they got wet… [read]



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DAY 4: GOLDEN STAIRS TO MAZE OVERLOOK

The fourth installment goes deeper into the labyrinth of nested canyons: The strange fins of “Ernie’s Country” went on seemingly forever into the distance. This uninhabited 30 square mile sandstone puzzle has been described as the most inhospitable land in the west. Wild, desolate and remote it is easy to see why it was once an ideal hideout for outlaws like Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch…. [read]





DAY 5: MAZE OVERLOOK TO HITE CROSSING

The fifth installment chronicles the final day in the Maze and the journey back out: A purple light washed over the landscape and the silence of morning was almost loud. The rocks seemed to glow. Tucked into a fold of the ledge, my campsite was invisible to the world. Not that there was anyone around to see as I began the fifth day of self-imposed solitude deep in the mystical heart of the canyons… [read]





DAY 6: HITE CROSSING TO MOAB

The sixth installment marks the end of the roadtrip and the return to civilization, with a few brief stops along the way: I made my way down to the edge of the water, where the rivers meet and Lake Powell begins, and just sat on a rock, the sunlight warming my back. The water went right up to the red rock walls of the canyon, and it was as if I could see the artist at work … [read]





IN FOCUS: THE FLINT SWITCHBACKS

A special feature photo-storyboard highlighting the views and descriptions of the descent down the switchbacks in step-by-step detail gives a sense of the awe-inspiring nature of the journey and one of the most impressive reveals for a driver discovering the nested canyons of The Maze for the very first time. Click through the images for more insights into the challenge… [read]





GALLERY: THE MAZE TRIP IMPRESSIONS

This slideshow compilation brings together a curated collection of sixty photographs in a sequence that captures the flavor and ambiance of the roadtrip. It features a combination of artful and impressionistic imagery, while chronicling key landscapes and other visual highlights from this journey of reflection and discovery in the solitude of the wilderness that is “The Maze”… [read]


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