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Today's hike was new territory, and the longest hike I've done for years. The plan was to drive some dirt roads to Eagle Canyon and hike to Swasey's Cabin. I brought Woodstock, Shelby GT, and Luna for this trip, the goats carrying mostly just water. We headed out from home while it was still dark and arrived just as the sun was rising-- Its about a 35 minute drive.

Google maps is very deceiving in regards to dirt roads. First, the I-70 underpass was just a culvert that the Lexus might have fit in if I had folded the mirrors and kept within a couple inches of the sides. Then there was the 10 inch ledge between the cement floor and the dirt road. I decided I'd have to hike the rest of the road to the canyon, and its a good thing-- The road would be difficult even for a 4-wheeler.



Near where I parked, I saw some horses. I figured they must be a camper's horses that were hobbled but...



They were certainly wild. I wouldn't call them mustangs but rather, more recently released horses or recent descendants. They weren't worried about people and just looked as we drove past and went on with their day. They look healthy and happy, so thats good considering its a severe drought year.



This road has not been maintained. The jutting rocks were covered with oil-pan paint, chunks of rubber tire tread, and I even found a brake pad- Yikes!



I70's bridges. From the highway you can't really see this canyon for more than a split second as you pass over it.



Sometimes some cables on the bridges will vibrate and sing. When Shelby first saw a truck fly past, he startled, but soon the traffic and noise was no big deal.
 

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An artistic shot of some juniper berries piled into patterns in the early morning shade.



This really turned out to be a forced march. I wanted to take advantage of the cool shade cast by the cliffs in the morning hours.



t was nice to discover a water seep. Luna enjoyed it but the goats werent too interested. Just up the road someone had installed a trough and pipe and there was some flowing water.



By now we're starting to lose our shade, but its still not that hot.
 

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Finally we reached the Eagle Canyon Arch. Its really more of a pillar thats connected at the top. Its a beautiful spot and from here on, the trees got older and larger.



Some of these junipers must be hundreds of years old. I saw a dead pine on the side of the wash that had to have been a thousand years old when it died. I never saw anything that large still living, though some of the trees up in the actual cliffs may be that large.



And of course there's the minerals... This area is called "Copper Globe". There were copper mines once upon a time, and you notice as you move up the canyon that there are more and more mint green rocks. I came to an area where half of the gravel was chunks of petrified wood, and just above that in a red layer capped by a white layer was an incredible array of minerals, crystals, and whatnot.



I had found a grapefruit sized green ball that had broken in half and was full of large crystals. I'd have kept it but it had been run over by too many vehicles and was scuffed up. In the mineral zone I found where it had come from-- Here's one embedded in sandstone.



6 weeks ago I had found a piece of green, bondo-like rock while hiking in Calf Canyon. It was one of my prized rocks, but here in Eagle Canyon, the bondo rocks are common. Here you see a big blob of it next to some exposed crystal.

Later I found a small rock that was coated with a bright, ridiculously blue mineral-- My new most highly prized rock. I gasped when I saw it so it has to be good.
 

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Just past the mineral deposits, we climbed the road upwards.. At this point I knew I had missed the path to Swasey's Cabin, because I had seen this place where the road crested a ridge on the map and it was well west of the cabin. It turns out that because of my rock hounding I had skipped the shortcuts and stuck with the river bed. However, one of those shortcuts was a real road and I ended up following the river to the west. It turned out just fine, as I enjoyed the minerals and just check out this area on the ridge! I'll do the cabin next time.



This is where we turned around. To the south you could see a large expanse of gentle hills covered with junipers and some distant formations. I would have loved to camp here... We were tired and ready to get in to the Lexus and head home, but we were of course only half way done and the sun was heating up! We took a short break and headed back down the canyon.



Smoke from California was starting to move in. A breeze was keeping us cool enough that despite the sun, it wasn't too hot.



Finally back to the arch. This would also be a great place to camp. I should mention I had yet to see any other humans, and had only seen some tire tracks in the sand from a few days prior.
 

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By now all of us were tired and wanted to be home... Except Luna. She never ran out of energy and I think she traveled at least 35 miles vs our 20.



At last, back to the bridge. I felt like we were almost back, but it was far from true! There were many miles yet to go.



We took a lot of breaks in the shade. Shelby has been on more hikes and I think was in better shape than Woodstock. Woodstock liked to lay down whenever he could. Our breaks were short though.



I knew the damaged road that runs next to the highway was going to be the hottest, most miserable part of the hike since we'd be coming back tired and there wouldnt be much shade. Here in the background you can see Ghost Rock. There's a scenic lookout and rest stop there if you're ever traveling I-70. The road we were on was near the highway but other than the noise, you never would have known it was there.



Back at last! We started the hike at 6:35 and finished at about 2:50 in the afternoon. The goats hid in the rather cool shade of the culvert while I got the AC working in the Lexus. They didn't mind the roar of traffic overhead. After the drive home they got some treats and spent several hours resting in their goat houses before I saw them out and grazing with the rest.

Next time I do this trip I'll make it a camping trip. I never really wanted to do 20 miles at once. A two-nighter would be perfect. However, if I had taken the canyon in the opposite direction, I'd have been in the giant sandstone dome zone! The canyon goes for many, many more miles and the scenery is very different and perhaps even more spectacular.
 

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Just a 4 hour exploration hike with Shelby GT and Luna. The goal today was to hunt for dinosaur bones, but in an area where its possible I'd be in the Chinlee formation (Formerly the Dakota formation) which sits atop the Morrison formation with a 50 million year gap. Turns out I never found a single bone. It was a great hike though....



Luna and Shelby were lively and ready to go at 7:00 AM



Found more of that vivid yellow and purple stained rock. There's a streak of this across the landscape and I have no idea what causes it.



Followed the slope covered in boulders looking for bones in the boulders. The dirt was bright white.



This giant boulder had a chunk fall out of it at some point. We arrived just in time to see the wicked witch's striped socks curling up.



No ruby slippers were found. It does make for an epic photo though.
 

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Thank you for sharing the hike with us! Living in the deep south, we dontdget to see geologic formations. Everything is covered with dirt with greenery on top. The only hiking trails that we have are dirt and mud. There are a couple of trails in town, but nowhere can you let the goats loose from lead.
 
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Back in the Morrison Formation. Found some petrified wood here.



We found a missing notch in the cliff and realized we were hiking on one side of a rather thin wall formation.



This is the view. I havent explored any of the stuff out there yet. Next time perhaps!



Taking in the view.



Shelby was happy to get a pine needle snack.
 

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Unsafe at any angle.

Actually while I was up on an overlook, I took a step and all the sand started draining down into a crevasse. Turns out the boulder making up the edge had undercut and was starting to tip, causing the crack to open. I never saw it move but I'm glad I didnt actually step out there and add weight to it. Yikes.



Walking toward a giant balancing boulder, looking back at Shelby.





Its a huge rock. Plenty of shade for a rest break.



At first this 4 x 2 foot horror seemed like it might be the legendary gnest of gnats, complete with some kind of final boss monster within its depths. Then I decided it might be a pack rat nest, though I have no idea how they get to it since its hanging overhead.
 

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Back to the Morrison formation.



The rocks in this area seem improbable.



I'm going to call these 'Calico Rocks'



If a dinosaur bone were in this shot, it'd sum up the Morrison formation nicely.



We could see the car from here. Shelby no longer felt the need to keep up and just stood there taking in the view and being lazy.



It is nice to have a distant shot of a goat, though. Usually they're pretty close.

Thats it for this trip. Its a 25 minute drive home and it was getting hot, so we were glad to head back.
 

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No packs today since the goats are up the road working on a neighbor's weedy field.



Bacchus's glamor shot.



The like shade.



Found a new wash today behind the house. It goes forever and is made of balancing boulders atop river-rock gravel. Super awesome.



It was a 4 hour hike, and thankfully some clouds showed up. Not long after I got back, I saw a downpour on the mountain and my mom called and said her windshield got broken by hail. It was sunny and nice when I left so its lucky I took off when I did.
 

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Wow, thanks for taking us on your adventures with you! No picture of the bright blue rock? Some great goat pictures, too! You should sooo nominate Shelby for Pet of the Day! And the others sometime, too!
 

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These are WONDERFUL posts!!!

We live in Maine. I want goats; My hubby wants travel/hiking. I made sure he saw your post so I could plant the thought that there can be both.:D
 
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