Looking out our front window we can see a large rock formation across the Colorado River high up on top of a rock wall. Our friend (and current neighbor) Gay has been up there and told us that it looks like a sleeping pig and piglets from the mesa on the other side of it.
So yesterday we decided to hike up to check it out. To get there we went north a few miles from Moab, turned left on to Potash Road, and drove about five miles to the parking area for the trailhead for Poison Spider Mesa 4×4 Road. This is also the trailhead for a short hike to some dinosaur tracks and also for the trail to Longbow Arch, which we did a couple of weeks ago. Most of this hike is on the narrow dirt road, but we cut out a half mile by hiking part of the Longbow Arch Trail to a point where it goes right next to the road.
We joined the road at a point where many of the various off-road vehicles choose to take a slight side road to go up and over “the Waterfall,” a steep rock step. You can stay on the road and avoid this, but what fun would that be?
Poison Spider is a very popular route for all types of 4×4 vehicles and has some very challenging rock climbs. It’s a bit too challenging for our Jeep, as you really need some modifications to navigate the most difficult sections.
We met a group of five Ford Broncos who were enjoying the challenges along the road. It took a while for the group to complete some of the challenges, so we were able to keep up with them by taking some shortcuts over the rocks.
It was really fun to watch them navigate a narrow slot called “the V Notch” or “the Wedgy.” This is where our Jeep would have said “No Way!” and turned around heading for the parking area. But this group of modified Broncos made it up fairly easily.
As we gained a bit of elevation the views of the nearby La Sal Mountains became quite beautiful.
Soon the rock formation we were seeking came into view. Gay was right, it looks just like a pig with piglets!
The Poison Spider Trail takes its name from the legend that a little girl named Mary Jane Francis died there from the bite of a poison spider in 1896. Along the road there is a grave site where she is supposedly buried. Her grave site is lined with stones, and her name and the dates 1889 to 1896 are clearly carved on a headstone. This memorial has encouraged many to leave a parting tribute – all sorts of “stuff” has accumulated around the grave including many coins, especially quarters.
We hiked five miles to a spot high on the rocks where we decided to turn around. But first we had a quiet lunch while enjoying the great views all around us.
The return hike was one of almost complete solitude, as we only saw a couple of vehicles along the way.
Soon we were back at the “Wedgy,” which is pretty easy to navigate if you are on foot!
We hiked back down to the spot where we would leave the road and hike the final half mile on the Longbow Arch Trail. As we sat to rest on a spot above the road, a group of Jeeps passed by below us. Wouldn’t you know it, one of Jeeps was occupied by our friends, Joe and Gay (the same Gay who had told us about the trail).
We waved to each other as they continued down the road and we broke off on to the trail.
We returned to the parking area tired from our ten miles of up and downs and sand, but pleased with all we saw and experienced on this great hike.