White Rim Trail Part 2: White Crack Campsite to Hard Scrabble Campsite
Today can only be described as emotional. Partly because I had PMT, partly because sections of both the Murphy Hogback and Hardscrabble Hill absolutely terrified me. Now, generally it takes quite a lot to put the fear in me – I’m quite happy to throw myself of aerial ski ramps, or perform double front somersaults in a gymnasium. However, driving up and along incredibly narrow dirt roads – no, not roads, make that mountain goat tracks – with a vertical wall on one side, a sheer drop on the other, and footnotes in a guide that says be aware of falling rocks, I am not feeling at my happiest!
Anyhow, we managed to accomplish both today, and when I wasn’t spotting and Gav wasn’t driving (ie we were stationary) we admired the incredible views that this part of the White Rim trail has to offer. The buttes, hoodos, and arches are absolutely amazing, and changing from the Colorado River to the Green River is also exciting; as the name suggests, it is green!
To break up the driving (and to give my nerves a break) we stopped at Vertigo Void which is at mile 40 from the end of the Shafer switchback junction. Vertigo void is a huge overhang, and the fun thing to do apparently is to crawl along the ground so that your head is over the edge, and due to the overhang, you get an updraft in your face and it really does feel as if you are flying!
Another favourite was the slot canyon at the start of the Wilhite trail. Although it is not listed as a technical climb and one that the general public can do (by the way please read this as very few people as we saw absolutely no-one at all today), as a novice I found it pretty tough. It’s always well to remember that whatever you climb down, you also have to climb up, and trust me, climbing up smooth sandstone is not easy!
Shortly after leaving the slot canyon I decided it was about time I gave Gav a rest and took over the driving, with the idea being that we would switch again at the turning for Fort Bottom. Fortunately it was fairly smooth, until I realised that Hardscrabble Hill was before and not after the fort turning. I managed a couple of switchbacks with the sheer drops on my side until I handed back over to Gav for the tougher ascent. I was still pretty pleased as I am a novice at off-roading and it really helped with my confidence. However, we were both on the edge of our seats with this final ascent and relaxed a little at the top, only to find we were now on the narrow ‘goat’ path I mentioned earlier. About a mile along this we let out a huge sigh of relief as we saw the sign for our campsite – only it wasn’t our campsite, it was marking the turning for Fort Bottom ! I was almost in tears! So, another 2 miles along a crumbling goat track with falling rocks, and finally we start the descent towards Hardscrabble camp ground, which is actually situated along the edge of Green River. We got out of Snomad and our whoops of delight could be heard echoing around the canyons.