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Wild Horse Canyon

Posted in Events on October 14, 2013
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Those of you who remember the 1990s, when our group called itself Pass Patrol, will recall we had a set of rules. Of course, most of those rules changed nearly every day but a few of them were written in stone.

For example, we used nicknames instead of our real names and no two members had the same nickname. Another example is no one in Pass Patrol was ever lost. We were frequently boldly going where we had never been before—but never lost.

On a recent trip to Utah, Caveman was in charge of securing our campsite. He had been to Wild Horse Canyon before and even sent the GPS position indicating where the camp would be. Happy Jack, Sundance, Gadget, and Lone Writer were on the way to the designated coordinates when their phones rang.

"I've got good news," Caveman said. "I found a campsite and no one beat us to it."

After a pause, he said, "I've got bad news. I checked my GPS and this is not Wild Horse Canyon. It's Temple Mountain Road."

That's not so bad, we thought. He's just a few miles off. OK, so it was more than a few. We keyed in the new GPS position and found Caveman wandering around Temple Mountain. The campsite was very nice with lots of room and numerous fire rings to choose from. Of course, it would take a while to reach Wild Horse Canyon from there, but it's not like that never happened before.

The next morning, Happy Jack was the first out of camp. He was in a hurry to have breakfast in Hanksville. Lone Writer was the next one out and soon came up on Happy Jack parked beside the road and talking to a really beautiful young lady. Happy Jack is like that. Put him in the middle of the desert with no one else in sight for 20 miles in any direction, and he will find the most beautiful woman in the county. This one was pointing down a side trail and saying something that caused her to frown.

The young lady took off jogging down that trail. Happy Jack was backing up to line his vehicle with the side trail when Lone Writer pulled up alongside and asked what was going on.

"I'm gonna go break her car window out," he said with a smile and took off after her in a cloud of dust.

"Great," Sundance said on the radio. "What did she say to set him off?"

When the rest of the gang caught up with Happy Jack and the lady, she was throwing rocks at the window in her car saying, "See? It won't break!"

Happy Jack took a tire iron from the back of his Jeep, stepped up to her car, and hit the window with a healthy whack. As the window shattered, the lady jumped with joy, then reached in and pulled up the lock on the door. "Thank you!" she shouted over and over. She had spent hours trying to break that window with no luck.

Happy Jack smiled. "I've had lots of practice."

"We should ask her if she wants to join the club," Sundance said with a grin. "Locking herself out of her own car is an acceptable initiation.

The rest of the day started out according to plan. That plan was to follow Wild Horse Canyon to Muddy River and then go north on 1012 and 1019 to a place our map called The Merry-Go-Round. It was to be one of those curiosity trips, boldly going where we had never gone before.

After driving past the Wild Horse Canyon campsite we initially were to have camped in, we continued following the trail. It was not terribly difficult, but the desert scenery was pleasing and very relaxing. About lunchtime, we came to a split in the road. One fork continued following the floor of the canyon and the other climbed out. We chose the one in the canyon first because our GPS map didn't show it was there. It became increasingly difficult as we continued. At a dry waterfall, the trail became too narrow for anything wider than an ATV, so we turned around and headed back to the other fork.

We eventually reached Muddy River, but there was no intersection that would connect us to the roads that would take us to the Merry-Go-Round. Crossing the river was no challenge. We joked about how states back East would call that a ditch. We followed the trail to the highway and looped back to our campsite.

Views like this keep us going back to Utah at every opportunity.

The day ended with a steak dinner cooked over an open fire without ever finding the one place we set out looking for. "It's not like that never happened before."

The conversation included tales about how each of us had locked ourselves out of our cars while in remote locations far away from cell service. Someone told Happy Jack it was too bad he would never see the lady again. Lone Writer giggled and said, "He might."

Everyone looked up for an explanation. "I gave her Happy Jack's address so she could send him the bill for the broken window."

Campfire tales grow bigger and bigger every time they are told. Join us at for some of the biggest ones. By the time this story runs, we expect to have our new website loaded. The stories will all be in PDF format, and we might even get a blog going. Questions and comments can be directed to Larry E. Heck at

Navigation: GPS Positions
Latitude Longitude Comments
N38 34.9837 W110 42.6238 Beginning of Wild Horse Canyon Rd.
N38 32.9083 W110 49.5722 The road splits. The right fork climbs out of the wash.
N38 31.8310 W110 54.1949 Muddy River crossing
N38 22.0368 W110 53.5532 The road connects to US Highway 34. Turn left for Hanksville.

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