THE MAZE!...who's in?

You know you’ve always wanted to visit the Maze, but maybe you don’t have a jeep, or just haven’t gotten around to mountain biking out there to access it. I understand the sentiment. Why not join me on a 2/3 day trip out that way in October(ish)? The route could be like a baby version of Roman and Forrest’s Candy8 trip. Keep in mind that I haven’t purchased a map of the Maze or NatGeo Topo! software of UT yet, so distances were calculted from lazy tracings on Google Maps

Rough route could go something like this:

-Hike Indian Creek down to Colo River (17ish miles)
-Float the Colorowdy past the confluence to Spanish Bottom (20ish miles)
-Loop hike in the Maze up to The Dollhouse, Chimney Rock, Harvest Scene, Chocolate Drops, and back down a parallel trail (30 miles?)
-Cross the Green while back at Spanish Bottom
-Hike up Red Lake Canyon and hitch out at the Elephant Canyon trailhead. If desperate for water, hike further to Squaw Flat Campground for their fancy-pants spigots
-Hitch thru the park and get back to da car at Indian Creek

Everyone always bitches about water in the Maze, but a call to the Hans Flat ranger station today revealed a hint of optimism:

-Spring below the Maze Overlook
-Spring near Harvest Scene pictograph
-Lou’s Spring out in Ernie’s Country (out of the way but beautiful and tempting)
-you can just allow the silt to settle in CO River water and just filter (!?!) it. Not sure who carries filters anymore these days, but don’t know if I trust aqua mira/bleach with super lowland water like that…
-(not so hot)…NO water in western Needles on the exit

Gaps in knowledge that need to be filled:

-I hear there are perennial streams in Indian Creek but would like to confirm…
-Any springs in side canyons of the Colorado above the confluence?
-Can inflatable PFDs be used thru the NP?

I’m well aware that this mileage could be a bit too much to squeeze into a few days. Perhaps waking early to beat the heat and add time, then hiking through dusk could help? Anyone who has done any bits of this (or all. Roman…ahem) feel free to chime in.

Another potential loop could be to go to Island in the Sky instead, put in at Upheaval Canyon, float the Green down to the Confluence, hike up the old school trail that leads to White Crack, and hitch back to the car.

Even shorter could be to drive into The Needles, and hike down Salt Creek to hit the Colorado, and then do the Maze route (or longer) listed above. But, but…dunno if the creek is passable all the way AND that would make less time in the boats…

so…are there any takers?

(PS…the ranger at Hans Flat said another packrafter called yesterday asking for info. Could that be someone here?)

{{{childish drawing of the potential route}}}

I would really love to go there… did you end up going? Maybe a trip this spring?

i think i am the guy the hans flat rangers were talking to when you called. i tried to do a loop starting from hans flat, down through millard canyon to the green river and up water/shot canyon to chimney rock, through the maze past harvest scene to the maze overlook, then finally back up to hans flat. unfortunately we didn’t know how to get into millard canyon so we dinked around the rim for a morning and my wife sprained her ankle. crud. while she rested on the rim i ran around and found the route into millard canyon. it’s not too bad. there are even some steps.

i am definitely game to try that loop again. we live in salt lake city and go to grad school at the u of u. i am planning on giving it another go in october 2012 during fall break. let me know if you are interested.