The land on this “hike” is under the jurisdiction of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Do not look or collect here. I see “Tom” was at the Eastern Sand Hills Crack on New Year’s Day 1932. He left his mark on it. So it was not a National Park. LEAVE NO TRACE. At first I left “hike” in parentheses. Michael Kelsey calls this area a hiking area. It’s an indie pathfinding fight from start to finish here. It’s sick, brutal, twisted, disgusting (and rewarding). He loves me. You can do it? You’ll know in no time.

Okee Dokee, Michael Kelsey is the only one writing about this hike, so go ahead and buy his book so you know what mile marker on the highway. 89A on the Arizona Strip to detour onto. He now he throws the book in the trunk and reads this.

Kelsey is almost 70 years old and apparently still walks at a rate of seven miles per hour on vertical inclines. Congratulations Michael, I see you are as dangerous as ever. I bought your new 5th. Edition of “Hiking and Exploration of the Paria River” and the photos are in color! But you’re still dangerous. While kids won’t need inner tubes in this one, they will need a respirator. So not only is this hike as bad as you want it to be, but MK is also as bad as you want it to be. Again, the great thing about this guy is that he goes where no one else goes (and can sometimes get you on the trail, but not on this hike).

Oh, I mean I’m almost 60 years old and this is my second time doing the Eastern to Northern Cracks Loop. I am in excellent condition. It takes me twice as long to do things as Kelsey.

Most 30-year-olds can’t keep up with me.

The walk: 6 hours, and we walked almost non-stop, ten minutes to have lunch. The route # you turn north off of 89A is #1396. The parking lot at Jacob’s Pool is 2 miles north on this sand road. The Jeep came within 1/8 of a mile from Jacob’s, where the last ravine collapsed. Get out of your car! Look north at Vermilion Cliffs. No, not northwest on a wide sand slide. There is a narrower sand slide to the north. That’s right, it’s not scalable. That’s “you can’t climb” lingo. Now just east of this slide of fine sand is a HILL of sand. It is scalable. You’re aiming for the east end of this sand hill. You won’t be able to get your bearings again until you’re on it. We are going to make the loop counterclockwise. You will see why. It’s brutality but easier. Michael is full of blah blah, but never mind Rachel Lee’s old stone house. There are about 50 ancient ruins and they don’t have cabinets. So from Jacob’s walk the old road east along the fence. You are correct about it being washed out when it turns north. You are looking for the main spring as he says. cattail! That’s what you’re looking for! There is only one place with many cattails! Now he speaks of an “emerging hiking trail.” What does that mean? Emerging from your chest as the “Alien”? I once had an album called “Emerge the Litter.” Does it have something to do with the group “The Litter”? No, he is not cairned as he says. About 6 people a year do this hike and they are all “hard core”. It is likely that none of the 6 will appear here exactly when you are here. We don’t need stinky badges. From the belfry head northeast. The hike is brutal here and it doesn’t get any easier. Go home if you can no longer hack the arena and ball bearings. Start early in the morning and you can see the northeast for the sun. Eventually, about an hour from where you parked (at Jacob’s house), you’ll reach the sand hill. Remember you want the east end. There is an intermittent trail here and there on the sand hill and maybe a cairn somewhere. At 1 1/4 hours the trail you should be on crosses a wash out on a huge black rock on the right. Now in a few minutes the trail disappears. Look, this is a hard core independent expedition. The correct way may be to go up the wash “stairs”, but we opted to go up because we were going to have to go up.

If you want to follow me, take the alluvial fan facing clay to the left. Do you want to go home now? The “East Rift” is now obvious to the northeast and points in that direction as well. Directly for me. You are on the right track if you see the lizard petroglyph climbing up the wall to your left. This was at 1 hour 50 minutes. Michael counts 6-7 panels of petroglyphs. There is more than that. The second panel (also left 2 hours) are 6 cute Bighorns. At 2 1/4 hours you’ll see what looks like a dam (there’s also a bunch of dead junipers) as you continue up. You can do it. I am 60 years old. This dam-like thing is what Kelsey calls a “constructed cattle road.” Climb up the wall and take a left on the trail for about 5 feet where it ends. Now straight up again to the top (lots more cool pets). 2 1/2 hours to the top. Of course, Kelsey gets in and goes back to her car just as quickly. What a BS for most mortals! Still, leave a big mound on the edge as you exit (that word again) the rift, in case you get lost and have to go back down.

Whats Next? Stay west along the rim. What is known as walking the flat and easy edge in “Paria River Hiking and Exploring” is anything but. I’m not Jack Kennedy, but I’m pretty sure I can easily walk over the edge. This rim hike is through loose sand, over and under rock formations, through dark routes blah blah. Reach an unused two track trail (Bingo, MK is right at this waypoint) in 1 to 1 1/2 hours from Eastern Crack anyway. It took us 1 1/4 with our 10 minute lunch. On the two-way look over the edge to the west. That is where you will descend. Let me explain something to you. Walking would have been easier about 1/4 mile inland from the rim, but we wanted to keep our Jeep and Jacob’s facing because we have learned NOT TO TRUST MICHAEL KELSEY. If you haven’t made it to both tracks in 1 1/2 hours, head back to your huge cairn and head down Eastern Crack.

Follow the track away from the (north) edge for 5-10 minutes. When you turn directly north away from the rim, you turn directly south. It’s a bit disorienting when you reach the drop down. The three-legged standard trapezoidal petroglyph tells you that you are in the right place. Now, reluctantly, I will give credit to the AUTHOR. He correctly marks the Northern Crack rock art, which will prevent you from thinking you’re lost. The drive to Northern Crack took us 1 1/2 hours! You’ll get for-off “cliff” 3 or 4 times, but you’ll get by. The Ancients did it, I did it, and you will. Security is ever left. You’ll make it because you won’t want to go up Northern Crack again, I’m thinking. I’ve never said “nasty” as often as I did when going down this slide, but you’ll still understand that counterclockwise was the right choice for this hike. Loose, dangerous and demanding. Don’t lose focus here, whether you’re tired or not. Focus on work.

We finally landed at the bottom. Each hiker had a gallon of water at the start. He should have gone. Now the first break in the entire hike happens after 5 1/2 hours. Walk south on the relaxing flat wash. When you come to a fence line, exit the wash on the left. Go through a hole in the fence and walk cross country to your vehicle. 1/2 hour after reaching the wash at the bottom of Northern Crack, you are drinking ice water in your vehicle.

MK did this loop in less than 4 hours. Give me a break. I have been a hiking fanatic for 20 years. The guy is crazy…and he writes hiking books. Maybe I’m in awe of the way he knocks me down. I’ll turn a corner. No, he is crazy.

Oh, never try a hike that Kelsey says took her 7 hours. You have been warned. DON’T BLAME HIM, HE IS JUST “THE AUTHOR”.