Sand Cove Wash and the Wave
Few visitors venture beyond the super-popular Wave into the wilderness of Coyote Buttes. We planned to scramble up Top Rock and to see its arches, and to check its back side, before taking off to White Pocket.
We started before 8 am on a chilly November morning. The Sun was still low but there were two new lines in the trail register already (one of them from the ranger out to check the $%$#%# permits!). As we hiked into Sand Cove, we couldn't help noticing that the rays of Sun didn't even touch the domes above the Wave, let alone shine into it. So we went looking for the dino tracks on the West side of the Cove, then dropped into the wash some ways upstream of the BLM-recommended crossing, and enjoyed exploring the little slot there.
As we left the slot canyon and headed uphill, the West entrance to the Wave opened right ahead of us. The famous place turned out to be real tiny, probably not bigger than some suburban backyards. There were no photographers around, but soon we spotted a teenage gal in the folds of slickrock to the SE, and stopped for a chat. In a few minutes it turned out that she was the feared law enforcement person, definitely a wrong youngster to growl at. But we were off the hook, whew! BTW the ranger told us that quite a few internet permit-lottery winners are no-shows, and none of them ever turn in their permits.
After some dog-surfing in the slanted rays of morning Sun, it was time to take off.
We stopped at the so-called 2nd Wave, just under the West face of Top Rock to the South of the one and only wave, then scrambled up slickrock kind of in between the two waves. It was very interesting to see the little patch of cracked domes below, and the Wave snaking between them.
Top Rock Arch was now just below us to the North, and a wide saddle opened to the East, towards the two large groups of giant tepee-like formations. Melody Arch was out of sight to the South; behind its ridge lay a neat pink sand dune in an overhanging alcove of rock. We rounded the corner of the ridge on the East side and there was the arch, really just a window in the face of the cliff far above.
The back side of Top Rock was less steep than the Wave side, but also with some picture-perfect rock formations. Staying near the boundary of the red rock and the sand, we soon rounded the South end of Top Rock, and took the BLM "trail" back to Wire Pass. Time to see if we can make it to White Pocket now ... and hopefully back.
LinksTanya's Wave Page with great beta on Top Rock
Next stop of our trip: White Pocket
And then the next one: Wahweap Hoodoos