EXPLORING THE DENAZIN WILDERNESS
We started the walk that would end with us meeting Deb in camp by dark. I knew the first mile of the walk from an exploration a few months before. All we had to do was connect to Truck Mesa and from there I knew the way to camp(a GPS made it real easy too). We walked through an area of white badlands and then back up a mesa. When we dropped back down into the Willow Wash the colors started to come out: browns, oranges, reds, and greys provided harmony and counterpoint to the sagebrush. I turned east up one of the washes too early, but that led to the discovery of some formations with a twenty foot spire in the Alamo Wash. From there we could see several old buildings on the other side of the wash with walls and roofs collapsed. We walked up the north side of Truck Mesa, a small rattlesnake crossed our path, buzzed a little bit, then disappeared into the weeds.
Then, up on the edge of the mesa, we made a remarkable discovery. There was a little house with a fenced yard and what appeared to be fruit trees. The house showed obvious signs of habitation and Vicki and I suddenly felt like we were tresspassing, and later I found out that there are small areas of private inholdings in the De-Na-Zin. From the house we followed a precisly cut two track trail for a few minutes till I saw the old truck that gave the mesa its name. The truck is on the eastern the edge of the mesa and near the best part of the trip. I told Vicki to get ready to see some incredible landscape. We walked down the soft "popcorn" soil that led to the ledge above the Brain Rocks. From there we could see the convergance of several distinct areas of formations in the De-Na-Zin: The Balls, The Window, The Brain Rocks and several others without names.
We timed it just right, arriving there shortly before sunset. I got to work photographing the Brain Rocks then worked my way towards The Window. The oranges, browns, and pinks were even more intense in the last light of day. I worked till half an hour after sunset while assuring Vicki that we could get back to camp in the near dark. We easily followed the same path I accidentally found years ago, even as the light faded to almost nothing. We climbed out of the De-Na-Zin Wash and into the sea of sage. After five more minutes of walking we saw the campfire that Deb started. At camp we cooked steaks for dinner, and both Vicki and Deb brought cake for my birthday.