October 4, 2009

Boulder Mountain and Hell's Backbone Road

Just before the big cold front moved in, we decided to take one of the last hot days of summer to drive up to over 10,000 feet onto Boulder Mountain to see the aspens turning color and to explore the infamous Hell's Backbone Road which skirts the upper edge of the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness.

The drive up from Escalante was a pretty easy dirt road with occassional washboards. Upon reaching a sign for Posey Lake, we took a left and follow the road past the lake and all the way up to the summit plateau. Boulder Mountain is part of the Aquarius Plateau, the highest and largest timbered plateau in the U.S. There are numerous roads criss-crossing the plateau with it's general undulating terrain and alternating subalpine meadows and spruce-aspen forests.

We took the opportunity to take a nice little walk and enjoy the cool mountain air after several days in the hot desert below.

Then it was down the Hell's Backbone Road. Not nearly as scary as it sounds, there are a few places of sheer cliffs dropping down into the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness. That wilderness is to be taken seriously, as it is am amazing array of canyons, cliffs, and sandstone formations that is virtually impenetrable. The peak view is from the Hell's Backbone Bridge, which was built across a gulf in the rock that old ranchers had to navigate with their livestock.

The whole road was built in the 1930's by CCC crews to be the first official connections between the towns of Boulder and Escalante, before scenic Highway 12 was built.

No comments: