Day 3

April 5, 2016

Mountain Sheep Spring to Lower Cottonwood Spring


Click on photos to see larger image.

Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  2.5 miles

    Elevation Gain:  950 feet

    Elevation Loss:  50 feet

After a leisurely breakfast, I packed up and headed up-canyon to where the Jumpup-Nail Trail crosses Sowats Canyon. Cottonwood Springs are in a tributary to Sowats, but because this tributary could be brushy and difficult, I opted to hike out of the canyon via the Jumpup-Nail Trail and cross-country on the Esplanade to Cottonwood Spring.  I started out carrying 3 liters of water -- enough so that I could leave a liter where the trail crosses Sowats Canyon. 

Sowats Canyon From Jumpup-Nail Trail. Approaching Lower Cottonwood Spring. Camp Near Lower Cottonwood Spring.


After leaving a liter of water, I climbed the 350 feet out of the canyon to the Esplanade.  The sun was pretty intense and it was starting to get warm.  Once on top I left the trail and headed generally east, contouring on benches as much as possible.  Although not always obvious which way to go, the hiking on the Esplanade is generally easy and mistakes are usually of little consequence.  I did check my position once or twice using the GPS on my iPhone.  Eventually I was able to drop to the bottom of the tributary containing Cottonwood Springs.  I dropped my pack and headed up-canyon looking for water.  I soon came to pools connected by small flows.  I scouted around for a short time and found a fairly nice campsite up on a slickrock ledge overlooking the canyon and the springs.

After lunch I headed up-canyon, looking for anything interesting, especially pictographs.  Although I didn't look in every nook and cranny, I didn't find any rock art or anything else of much interest.  I went back to camp and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.  I decided not to spend another day here, but opted to cut the trip to 5 days total.  I listened, on my iPhone, to In The Kingdom of Ice, by Arthur Morey.

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