Moab - Hunter Gatherer Pritchett - Oct 1 2007

words and photos by Sharon Bader and Lee Lau unless otherwise noted.

Day two had us riding in the same area but in totally different terrain. Such is the diversity of Moab. We hike-a-biked up Gatherer Canyon, along a rock ledge overlooking Hunter Canyon and back along a old road towards Behind the Rocks, the Pritchett Arch and back out Pritchett Canyon.

Click for Map Source

On the way to Gatherer Canyon and just past the Amasa Back ride you can see an example of some Rock Art.

History of Moab Rock Art:

"Approximately 75 feet west and down the slope from .he road, is a large boulder with rock art on all four sides. Figures and designs range from the Formative to the historic Ute period. The well known "birthing scene" is found on the left-hand corner of the east side A the boulder (facing the road). Notice the feet-first pre­sentation of the baby. Look for various animal forms, such as a centipede and a horse, bear paws and a snake, as well as triangular anthropomorphic (human) figures and a sandal trackway. "

This art could have been made from the Fremont, Anasazi ( Ancient Pueblo) or Ute Natives. Not much is known about who created this art or what it represented, prehistoric graffiti artists I guess!

The Birthing Rock.

To find the start of Gatherer Canyon you drive down the Kane Creek Road to the bottom of this first valley until you see a 'no camping sign'.

Dave and Jamie checking out the climbing and hucking opportunities!

Once in Gatherer Canyon you start your trek up.

Lee, Jamie and Dave.

Juniper tree in Gatherer Canyon.
“At times I am exasperated by the juniper’s static pose; something in its stylized gesture of appeal, that dead claw against the sky, suggests catalepsy. Perhaps the tree is mad. The dull, painful creaking of the branches in the wind indicates, however, an internal effort at liberation.” Edward Abbey - Desert Solitaire


Up the canyon we go.

Lee, Sharon, Dave. - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

Across the shards of ledges with boulders of slickrock overhead.

Lee, Sharon, Dave. - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

Once on a ledge we are able to traverse the canyon as I'm sure the ancient Pueblo did way back when they inhabited this place.

Lee, Jamie and Trish. - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

Once around the rim we take in the view of the canyons and mounds of rock surrounding us.

Lee, Dave, Pete.

We stop for a snack and to take in the views at Hunter Canyon. From the bottom of this canyon there is no way up here without ropes and some serious climbing objectives.

Lee on the edge!

Normally this land is formed through the erosive forces of wind, ice and rain. Sometimes man must intervene.

1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000, 4-1000! Don't Jump! - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

Trish seems to be enjoying this rough and rocky trail!

Trish - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

We head South towards Behind the Rocks. The clouds in the distance are a distant threat... or...


At one point we hike in towards a rather green section of the cliff walls. Within a shallow cave we find what could be a cave dwelling of the Anasazi or Fremonts where they could store any grains they collected. This area was so lush there were trees and other vegetation growing out of the canyon walls.

Jamie. - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

Lee, hmm ~600sqft @ $500/sqfoot with a view! - photo by Pete Stace-Smith

The white streaks in the back represent water having previously run down the walls. The vegetation in this area was quite diverse for a desert! Hmm wonder if it rains here much...

Sharon, Lee.
- photo by Pete Stace-Smith

We take a detour to check out a cool arch in the area.


Pritchett Arch - classified as a pot hole arch - carved by nature in Navojo Sandstone. You can see Dave by the large Juniper under the arch as I am riding up to the arch.


The guys did a little hike to the top of the Arch.

Dave, Pete, Jamie.

I stayed back and had a nap.

Sharon. - photo by Pete Stace-Smith


The ride back from the arch.


The trail follows more slickrock goodness!

Dave, Jamie.

Jamie rocking down the rocks!


The train.

Sharon, Dave, Jamie, Trish.

Remember when I talked about the clouds? They weren't kidding. For the last hour we rode out in the rain. Fortunately we were able to get out before the sand turned to gumbo. The rock stayed pretty grippy even in the wet!

Sharon, Jamie, Dave.

You can see the arch in the back as the top of the sandstone darkened with the rain. Everything turned dark and rich in colour the wetter they got.

- photo by Pete Stace-Smith

The rain fell onto the top of the Sandstone monoliths, collected and concentrated down the waterfalls on the sides of the canyon. The desert varnish turned black and as the water made its way down to collect at the bottom of the canyon. The term 'wash' now held greater meaning to us as the water now collected at the bottom of the canyon while we were riding out.

Jamie - lets not be here in another hour!

We got out pretty soaked and dirty but not that much worse for wear. In Vancouver you don't think twice about going out and riding in the rain. Here in Moab the sand becomes death goo and riding in the rain destroys your bike! (590m in 6:30)
Amasa Back
Geyser Pass
3/4 of the Enchilada - Hazard to Porcupine
Barlett Wash
Gold Rim Trail
Fruita - 18 Road
Emigration Canyon