Filling in the desert donut hole with the latest Utah adventure |

Filling in the desert donut hole with the latest Utah adventure

Adventure planning the old fashioned way with maps and a guide book.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The only thing better than planning a desert trip is actually going on a desert trip.

A friend and I met at Capitol Creek Brewery in Basalt on Monday night to plot our next adventure later this month. We’re eschewing Moab for terra incognita. We’re finally going to explore land that has heretofore been a donut hole for us in southeastern Utah. We’ve been immediately north, south, east and west of this place but never taken the time to dive into these canyons in the high desert.

I’m sure we showed our age and baffled a younger generation of adventurers at the bar. Instead of using our phones to track routes, we spread out maps a couple at a time. We got excited to find a symbol for an old corral near the trailhead that will be the centerpiece of our trip. (I’ve got a thing for old corrals. A highlight of my desert tripping thus far was finding an obscure corral in the Maze section of Canyonlands that Ed Abbey wrote about in “Desert Solitaire.”)

We were delighted to find features like the Toe and the Heel poking up from the desert expanse on our topo map. And you can always count on the desert to provide some ominous place names — Poison Canyon in this case.

Since my friend Bob will arrive later in the day than my daughter and me, we had to establish a rendezvous point. Cell service will be spotty at best where we’re going, so we traced out myriad backcountry roads and came up with a general plan of where to camp April 26.

We never over-plan our trips. Experience has taught us there will be twists and turns unforeseen by looking at maps or guidebooks. We’ll run into some crusty desert rat and get a good tip about a petroglyph or weather will force our hand. I wouldn’t want it any other way.