November 8, 2010

Grand Gulch Plateau

David Whitford - San Juan College OLER Student

Recently, we took a trip to Grand Gulch Canyon in Utah. The backpacking trip was a part of a Wilderness Pursuits class being offered by San Juan College. The class is an introductory level course with a focus on developing skills related to planning, organizing and executing a backcountry outing. Some of the topics covered in the class included trip planning and organization, low impact camping and permitting, menu planning, and introductory route finding and navigation.

For the navigation piece of the course we were lucky enough to have the Trails Illustrated Map of the Grand Gulch Plateau. There were so many things about the map that came in handy, but the one that stood out to me was that so many of the ruins and springs were well marked. Not only were they marked but the mileage from our starting point to each spring and ruin was given also.

As I have discovered, hiking in the Utah canyons requires a good amount of preparation. You can’t prepare too much when it comes to knowing where water sources are in a place where water is scarce.
Wilderness Pursuits students enjoying Jailhouse Ruin

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