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Dave Beedon | profile | all galleries >> Places >> Utah >> Moab (environs) >> Poison Spider Mesa: Loop Through the Fins tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Arches National Park | Castle Valley (introduction) | Castle Valley: Round Mountain | Castle Valley: Castleton Tower | Corona Arch | Corona Arch Domes | Day Canyon | Dead Horse Point State Park | The Goose Neck | Ida Gulch | Jeep Arch | Monitor and Merrimac Buttes | Negro Bill Canyon ("NBC") | Other Moab Environs | Poison Spider Mesa: Loop Through the Fins | Poison Spider Mesa: Return to the Maw | Potash Area | Road Names in the Moab Area | Sand Flats | Shafer Trail | White Rim Trail

Poison Spider Mesa: Loop Through the Fins

(I use "garden" to refer to an area of vegetation.)
West of Moab is an tilted plateau called Poison Spider Mesa, site of some
trails used by people on mountain bikes, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles.
The main access to the mesa is via Potash Road (Utah Highway 279).

In 2006, while driving on Potash Road, I happened to see a canyon between two fins that extended
to the road. It looked as if it were possible to scramble up the canyon to the terrain among the
fins. In 2007 I returned and scrambled up the canyon to a fantastic landscape of fins and gardens.

Images appear roughly in chronological order. The place where the canyon meets the
road (second and third photos) is at the center of this WikiMapia aerial view.
.
Rental car parked across from the fin canyon
Rental car parked across from the fin canyon
Canyon as seen from the road
Canyon as seen from the road
Wide view of the canyon
Wide view of the canyon
Looking down the route I just came up: below are Potash Road and the Colorado River
Looking down the route I just came up: below are Potash Road and the Colorado River
Potash Road, Colorado River, Kane Creek Road, Behind the Rocks
Potash Road, Colorado River, Kane Creek Road, Behind the Rocks
The route above looks easy, but what lies beyond the high point above the tree?
The route above looks easy, but what lies beyond the high point above the tree?
View from the notch: a garden and more fins
View from the notch: a garden and more fins
Fin behind the garden, close-up
Fin behind the garden, close-up
Fin Boy takes a break on the toe of a fin; Joe Tripod (not visible) just stands there
Fin Boy takes a break on the toe of a fin; Joe Tripod (not visible) just stands there
Looking back at the notch (at left) from the garden
Looking back at the notch (at left) from the garden
Undulations
Undulations
Vegetated curves
Vegetated curves
Vegetated curves from another angle (lip at bottom is a pour-off)
Vegetated curves from another angle (lip at bottom is a pour-off)
Fin and flora
Fin and flora
Closing in from both sides
Closing in from both sides
Slope and layers
Slope and layers
Fin of self-portrait and precipice of self-portrait
Fin of self-portrait and precipice of self-portrait
Holy fin---my answer to Bob Cooper's picture from Australia
Holy fin---my answer to Bob Cooper's picture from Australia
Layer cake
Layer cake
Garden's entrance and exit
Garden's entrance and exit
This brushy corridor was the garden exit route (note the juniper berries at upper left)
This brushy corridor was the garden exit route (note the juniper "berries" at upper left)
I came up this brushy corridor
I came up this brushy corridor
Where I'm going: rocky corridor
Where I'm going: rocky corridor
Fin in a V
Fin in a "V"
What's over there?
What's over there?
Split personality (shadow falls on two fins)
Split personality (shadow falls on two fins)
Another view of the terrain that calls
Another view of the terrain that calls
Ramp leads to additional delights
Ramp leads to additional delights
Ramp vegetation: juniper and cacti
Ramp vegetation: juniper and cacti
Desire to see + fear of heights = prone position at precipice
Desire to see + fear of heights = prone position at precipice
View from precipice: location of Fin Boy self-portrait
View from precipice: location of Fin Boy self-portrait
Cave and garden
Cave and garden
My tracks, someone else's faint tracks, animal tracks
My tracks, someone else's faint tracks, animal tracks
Fins and cacti
Fins and cacti
Fabulous, fascinating, framed fin
Fabulous, fascinating, framed fin
Looking west at garden #2, taken while ascending to the top of a fin
Looking west at garden #2, taken while ascending to the top of a fin
Dots show where I was earlier (white = route between fins; black = fear of heights)
Dots show where I was earlier (white = route between fins; black = fear of heights)
Fin pano in one image (180-degree view)
Fin pano in one image (180-degree view)
Fin pano (1 of 6)
Fin pano (1 of 6)
Fin pano (2 of 6)
Fin pano (2 of 6)
Fin pano (3 of 6)
Fin pano (3 of 6)
Fin pano (4 of 6)
Fin pano (4 of 6)
Fin pano (5 of 6)
Fin pano (5 of 6)
Fin pano (6 of 6)
Fin pano (6 of 6)
From atop a huge fin I gaze at other fins (Behind the Rocks)
From atop a huge fin I gaze at other fins ("Behind the Rocks")
Closer view of Behind the Rocks from the west side of the Colorado River
Closer view of Behind the Rocks from the west side of the Colorado River
Route through cryptobiotic soil wasn't always on sandstone bedrock
Route through cryptobiotic soil wasn't always on sandstone bedrock
Peek-a-boo!
Peek-a-boo!
End of a fin that looks like a skinny tropical fish
End of a fin that looks like a skinny tropical fish
Route ahead is in the deep shadow between fins
Route ahead is in the deep shadow between fins
I got worn out trying to create a title for this
I got worn out trying to create a title for this
Frozen wave
Frozen wave
 Desert bum in a one-person line-up to identify an ice cream extortionist
Desert bum in a one-person line-up to identify an ice cream extortionist
Forward, into the shadow!
Forward, into the shadow!
Shadowy hiking route at the base of a wall
Shadowy hiking route at the base of a wall
Fractures
Fractures
Silhouette against a sandstone fin colored by desert varnish
Silhouette against a sandstone fin colored by desert varnish
Two fins, a bush, and a plane
Two fins, a bush, and a plane
Tiny hand/foot holds chisled in the sandstone wall enabled further progress
Tiny hand/foot holds chisled in the sandstone wall enabled further progress
Bench route to garden #3
Bench route to garden #3
Garden panorama
Garden panorama
Delightful garden with naked sandstone beyond
Delightful garden with naked sandstone beyond
Dark gap prevents further progress (see next photo)
Dark gap prevents further progress (see next photo)
The dark Maw of Terror
The dark Maw of Terror
The Maw of Terror, looking the other way
The Maw of Terror, looking the other way
Path through the garden's cryptobiotic soil
Path through the garden's cryptobiotic soil
Cryptobiotic soil---some of it is 3 inches (7.5cm) tall
Cryptobiotic soil---some of it is 3 inches (7.5cm) tall
Scraggly tree
Scraggly tree
Access bench in shadow
Access bench in shadow
Looking ahead from a pass toward more fins and another garden
Looking ahead from a "pass" toward more fins and another garden
Surprise---more fins!
Surprise---more fins!
Odd shapes and yet another plane
Odd shapes and yet another plane
Getting oriented again
Getting oriented again
Unnamed arch
Unnamed arch
Pleasing hiking terrain
Pleasing hiking terrain
Route I have just come through to reach garden #4
Route I have just come through to reach garden #4
One straight line
One straight line
Giants
Giants
Laid back
Laid back
Attempting to achieve Oneness via a new path
Attempting to achieve Oneness via a new path
Falling back to re-group
Falling back to re-group
Wall of fins with a messy sky
Wall of fins with a messy sky
Poison Spider Mesa Trail (purplish rock)
Poison Spider Mesa Trail (purplish rock)
Three bikers heading back to the trailhead parking lot
Three bikers heading back to the trailhead parking lot
Bikers on rock (the leader is at far left)
Bikers on rock (the leader is at far left)
Riding into the sun
Riding into the sun
Fins, fins, and more fins (taken from near the Poison Spider Mesa Trail)
Fins, fins, and more fins (taken from near the Poison Spider Mesa Trail)
This terrain calls to me, so I must explore it
This terrain calls to me, so I must explore it
The way out of the fins is through this garden to the trail (trail is visible at center)
The way out of the fins is through this garden to the trail (trail is visible at center)
Texture
Texture
Looking north from atop a fin at the boring mesa
Looking north from atop a fin at the boring mesa
Fin City!
Fin City!
Meeting in the sky
Meeting in the sky
Mysterious silhouette
Mysterious silhouette
Distant mesa
Distant mesa
Gnarled shadow
Gnarled shadow
Take only pictures...leave only footprints (or vehicle gouges)
Take only pictures...leave only footprints (or vehicle gouges)
Route in garden #4 to the lower part of the trail
Route in garden #4 to the lower part of the trail
No straight lines (original size looks best)
No straight lines (original size looks best)
Hiking out on sand and bedrock
Hiking out on sand and bedrock
Looking back at my exit route through the garden
Looking back at my exit route through the garden
Others have preceded me
Others have preceded me
Don't touch the foreground (it's fragile); don't touch the background (you're fragile)
Don't touch the foreground (it's fragile); don't touch the background (you're fragile)
Seven-inch shadow at 1700
Seven-inch shadow at 1700
Following a wash along the base of the fins
Following a wash along the base of the fins
Deep shade
Deep shade
Skyline bush
Skyline bush
Wrinkles in the wash---get out the iron and start pressing!
Wrinkles in the wash---get out the iron and start pressing!
Humps
Humps
White line
White line
Shadow
Shadow
More topography to explore
More topography to explore
Late afternoon self-portrait among the fins
Late afternoon self-portrait among the fins
Poison Spider Mesa Trail---with no one else present
Poison Spider Mesa Trail---with no one else present
Looking across the Colorado River from the Poison Spider Mesa Trail at Behind The Rocks
Looking across the Colorado River from the Poison Spider Mesa Trail at Behind The Rocks
Walking along Potash Road to where I started the hike
Walking along Potash Road to where I started the hike
End of hike at my starting point, after hiking for 8.5 hours and shooting 1600 (bracketed) exposures
End of hike at my starting point, after hiking for 8.5 hours and shooting 1600 (bracketed) exposures