After the Canon D7 died yesterday on the way back from the Confluence Overlook hike, the first priority of the day would be to see if it was possible to ship the dead camera back to Amazon and get a new one shipped to the visitor center in the Needles District at Canyonlands National Park. Before that it took the body a little while to recover from the 10+ mile hike along the Confluence Trail at Canyonlands. At least a gallon of water was guzzled after waking up and the last of the mammoth sized sandwich purchased back in Moab was downed to fuel up for the day ahead.
The campground was still filled but there were only about 20 sites in the park so the roads weren’t crowded. Like the response to an inquiry about plugging in computers and camera battery chargers (no go cause it could be a bomb) it was expected that it would not be possible to have anything shipped to the visitor center. The rangers at the visitor center were very friendly and understanding of the situation and suggested going to the Needles Outpost, a privately owned campsite, store and gas station to see if they would accept the package.
The owner there promptly said they would not accept packages so it would not be possible to place an order and have it shipped to the Needles Outpost. Before going through any more hassle to try to get Internet access the ranger at the visitor center was able to tell on Amazon that the Canon D7 camera was out of stock at Amazon. That put an end to that. There would be no replacement of the Canon 7D while at Canyonlands National Park. After the time spent at the Needles Section of Canyonlands a return to Moab would be in order to try to fix the camera situation.
With that settled at least for now it was time to get out and do some hiking. The old Canon Rebel T1i would have to be the camera for the day. It wasn’t a great alternative because the Canon 7D is a far superior camera when not malfunctioning but the Rebel T1i would have to do for the day and for the duration of the stay in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The hike for the day would be off to Peekaboo Spring starting from the trailhead at the Squaw Flat campground.
The Squaw Flat campground parking lot by the trailhead was fairly full. Lots of different trails branch off from the same starting point. A water spigot and an outhouse were located there for any needed last minute preparations before departing for a hike. So far, this looked to be the most difficult hike of the week so far and possibly of any that would be undertaken this week at Canyonlands.
The hike started out fairly mellow as it left the parking lot. It didn’t seem that it would be a very difficult hike as it began on a nice flat sandy path through a somewhat lush area of Canyonlands. The easy hike continued for a half hour or so and then started to increase in difficulty substantially. Where the trail hits the 1.1-mile mark and connects with the Lost Canyon Trail the terrain becomes more rugged and challenging. A little while later the trail takes a sharp right turn and requires a steep hike up a slick rock wall and follows a ladder up an area that is a little to steep and sheer to climb without it.
Soon after these obstacles are conquered the trail drops down into a sandy wash for a few hundred yards and then returns to an above average difficulty. For much of the rest of the way to the ruins (just before entering the Peekaboo Spring area) the trail goes along a canon rim with a fairly steep grade on which you walk. In most places there is ample room to stay back away from the edge but you still need to lean into the hill a fair amount to remain standing upright.
As you walk along this part of the trail you will see what looks like Santa Claus off to your left. As you progress along the trail you’ll see Mrs. Clause sitting in the back of the sleigh and may even see one of Santa’s helpers there as well. Throughout the park there are all kins of rock formations that look as if they have been carved to resemble various people, characters and things we see in everyday society. It all depends on perspective and not everyone will see the same thing in the rock formations.
Peekaboo Canyon is close at hand when a series of rock art drawings with a sign identifying them appears on your right hand side. The rock art at Newspaper Rock on highway 211 into the park is much more impressive but it is worth stopping for a few moments to check out the rock art along the trail to Peekaboo Spring. Once the sights at the rock art wall were taken in the hike to Peekaboo Spring continued. Just past the rock art wall it was possible to see a nice lush area off in the distance through some towering rock formations and down in a valley below.
The path to get down there was a little tricky to say the least. In order to drop down into the Peekaboo Spring area one of the most challenging ladders in Canyonlands must be climbed down. It’s a narrow space between a few huge chunks of rock and bottoms out on steep stone steps that provide even more challenging terrain to climb down. Backing down the ladder was the most sensible way to get down it. When you reach the stone steps, however, it is helpful to turn around to get down safely.
With a backpack on my back and a tripod strapped to the outside of the backpack it made turning around in the narrow space rather challenging. With some careful steps and slow movements it was possible but not easy. Had it been a backpack with enough gear for an overnight stay the pack would have had to come off in order to turn around to walk forward down the stone steps. Once at the bottom of the ladder and the stone steps you are home free!
At this point the trail still hasn’t quite reached Peekaboo spring but it is within sight. The remainder of the trail to get there requires no climbing, no scrambling and is flat with the exception of a short descent down to the area where the water flows. After climbing through harsh canyons, walking along steep and sometimes narrow rock ledges, Peekaboo Spring is literally an oasis in the canyons. Crisp clear water flows through the canyon bottom, the area is lush with plant life with anything from cottonwood trees to prickly pear cacti (be sure not to step on or too close to them).
Due to an afternoon start, a challenging hike and time spent to take lots of photos along the way there was not as much time as desired to simply hang out and relax at Peekaboo Spring. After about 20 minutes of photos and explorations of the area it was time to begin the hike back. The trail back was pretty easy to follow and the ladder up out of the Peekaboo Spring area was much easier to go up than down. The Cairns were relatively easy to follow on the way back with only a few momentary pauses needed to figure out the next direction to go.
More faces, figures and unique rock formations were seen on the way back. The hike back seemed a little bit easier going out than hiking in. The parking lot was reached before dark without the need to fire up the headlamp. So long as you can get to the 3.9 mile point of the hike back (just past Squaw Canyon) you should be able to make it back to the parking lot without too much trouble if it starts to get dark before you get back to the parking lot.
The campsite at Peekabo Spring would be one amazing place to spend the night! With fresh water plentiful there it would be an easy and absolutely stunning place to spend a night or more. If you got desperate for food there are plenty of prickly pear cacti you could very carefully prepare (make sure to get all the spines out, which may be difficult) and eat if needed. There is only one campsite that may be reached by hiking in or 4wd vehicle if you have something with the ground clearance to make it on the back roads.
After another long strenuous day of hiking and no showers available the only thing left o do was head back to the campsite and drift off to sleep. The temperatures were mild, the winds blew softly and except for the aching feet it was easy to drift off to sleep and get the rest needed for another potentially long day of hiking ahead for tomorrow.