A snowstorm slowly settles in, dispelling any notions of rock climbing. We don’t mind too much though. A slow morning feels nice, and the sign by the parking area suggests the possibility of a nice loop hike. We take note of trail and road numbers, then set off into the snow.
BLM road 5825 climbs a ridge for a while before dropping into Sand Gulch. There it becomes trail 5825A, wending through a canyon full of Juniper, Live Oak, and yellow grass, all with a fresh coat of snow. The limestone of the lower canyons is replaced by a pink, potassium-rich granite. Rabbit, deer, and coyote tracks punctuate the trail. A clear spring tempts us to stop and fill a water bottle.
A few miles up the canyon a cozy little homestead appears. Icicles dangle from the corrugated roof, and a small stable sits close by. It looks like a hermit’s dream home.
Soon our loop begins to bend around. We pass several other roads, top a small pass, and start back down into The Bank canyon. The amount of grass in these high canyons surprises me. I suppose that’s what attracted the homesteaders. Gradually the canyon narrows until the limestone walls we know and love rise up above us. The temperature has dropped, probably to the low teens. Our thoughts turn to dinner and warm hands. We arrive back at the camper before dark, and settle in for a cold night.
2 responses to “Sand Gulch – Bank Loop Hike”
Oh Dylan, that looks beautiful! I had no idea you could connect all of those trails, or that so many people lived up in those hills. Thank you for sharing!
We only saw the one little cabin, and clearly no one was living in it. But there are lots of trails and roads to explore up there!