Oct 16 2008

The Wave in Coyote Buttes North

Published by at 10:07 pm under Arizona,Utah,Western U.S.

In Meredith’s last post, she mentioned how I got lucky and obtained a permit to hike in Coyote Buttes North to go see The Wave. I guess I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I spoke with a few people who had been turned down. There was the guy who walked into the BLM office only 15 minutes after I did. I mentioned my luck to several other people and most expressed some degree of disbelief and usually then offered a story of some acquaintance of theirs who got turned down 5 days in a row. So anyway, I guess the stars were in alignment that day.

As Meredith and I split and she headed toward the Wire Pass slot canyon, I struck out through the northern part of the Coyote Buttes (hence the name). A hike through a sandy hill and a large wash then up and through a notch in a sandstone ridge gave me my first views of the Buttes. These have a mix of white, red and sometimes yellow striations in them that in some cases look like taffy. In the case of The Wave, the surface has been worn almost smooth which really intensifies the effect. I then hiked south along the ridge line for a while, made the climb up a sandy dune slope which is the final approach and there I was in the entrance to The Wave. You can’t see it all until you’re right in it. I wonder what the first person to discover it thought when they happened upon it. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in nature. For a photographer, it’s somewhat of a bonanza. It’s hard to know where to point your camera first.

I spent about 4 hours there after arriving then retraced my steps back to the trail head. The hike from end to end is about an hour and a half including time to take a bunch of pictures along the way. That makes about 7 straight hours in the direct sun. I had lots of water to last all day but I was pretty worn out at the end. I slept well that night! Here are a few pictures I took that day:


Above: In the entrance to the Wave, looking back over Coyote Buttes


Above: Looking down the “heart” of the Wave


Above: Inside the Wave


Above: Two other people in the Wave to give a sense of scale


Above: Near the top of the Wave where the lower part of a butte begins the Wave


Above: There are lots of abstract patterns on some of the walls in the Wave


Above: Looking up the “secret passage” of the Wave, a narrow path to the side of the main part


Above: Looking back down the “secret passage”


Above: on the hike back, a typical view of the Coyote Buttes


Above: much of the hike to the Wave was across slickrock like this.


Above: Another view of the Coyote Buttes

– Dave

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