This day is definitely a keeper.
|Trail to Scout Cave|
Great weather is not hard to come by in southern Utah, especially in the autumn months. The first day of November, however, is exceptional. Just ahead of the onset of a predicted cold front (with possible winds up to 60 mph) our early morning skies are cloudless crystal blue clear with a breeze that could scarcely ruffle a raven feather. Afternoon temperatures lightly kiss the low 70’s.
My Tuesday–hiking–buddy Judy chooses to lead us to Scout Cave and so I find myself once again in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve of red–rock sandstone hoodoos and precipitous cliffs. Even after living in southern Utah for 16 years I had never been to this particular spot. I happily put my life (or at least my mid-morning) into her carefree map–free hands.
|I was dragged up here to see this?|
Along the trail we gaze down on the dark Santa Clara basalt flow cascading from vents above nearby Snow Canyon (check out my post about this flow here).
|Black Santa Clara flow contrasts red sandstones|
The trail contours around and down into an elongated canyon of fractured sandstone cliffs.
|Trail contours down to the right|
Scout Cave can be found eroded into one of these fractures.
|Judy snacking - Scout Cave for scale|
The fracture that forms the cave goes all the way up through the sandstone.
Flat rocks inside the coolness of the cave beckon us to park ourselves and enjoy a snack. The expansive view beyond the towns of Ivins and Santa Clara towards the Beaver Dam Mountains captures our attention as we chew and chat. We explore outside a second nearby cave involving a short but tricky ascent with dubious handholds. We freely admit to our sketchy rock–climbing abilities and so leave that cave scouting for perhaps another day.
|From the inside|