I had a weekend trip planned in Utah’s San Rafael Swell. Three days of some of the most scenic offroad trails on earth and three nights camping and photographing the Milky Way.
I was going to enter the Swell on Temple Mountain Road and go to Swasey’s Cabin, then take Eagle Canyon Trail to Eva Connover Trail and from there to a huge network of trails through deep canyons, around large red mesas, and past abandoned mines and ghost towns.
As I drove I-70 from Denver to the San Rafael Swell, there was snow from the Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado all the way to Green River in Utah. As soon as I got off of Interstate 70 and onto Temple Mountain Road there was snow. Everything was covered with a couple of inches of snow. The snow was no problem for my FJ, but it made a light coating of slick mud that covered everything. I explored the historic Swasey Cabin a little bit and then headed down through the snow into Eagle Canyon.
I got about halfway down the shelf road into the canyon when I was stopped by a large bolder that fell in a recent landslide. I probably could have slipped around the boulder or moved it out of the way with my winch or a tow strap, but I was worried that if I got right on the edge of the shelf the trail would give way there and I’d create a new landslide as I rolled into the canyon below. Just ahead of the large boulder in the trail was a washed-out, eroded section of trail that had already given way to the right of me, which was downhill. I decided to play it safe and turn around. The area I was in was filled with amazing trails, I didn’t have to risk everything on this one.
What do you think – did I make the right decision to bail out, or did I wuss out? Let me know in the comments below.