"Anyway-why go into the desert? Really, why do it? That sun, roaring at you all day long. The fetid, tepid, vapid little water holes slowly evaporating under a scum of grease, full of cannibal beetles, spotted toads, horsehair worms, liver flukes, and down at the bottom, inevitably, the pale cadaver of a ten-inch centipede....Why? The rain that comes down like a lead shot and wrecks the trail, those sudden rockfalls of obscure origin that crash like thunder ten feet behind you in the heart of a dead-still afternoon...the dreary wind that blows all spring...sand in the soup du jour...halazone tablets in your canteen. The barren hills that always go up, which is bad, or down, which is worse."
Abbey, Edward; The Journey Home, E. P. Dutton, New York, 1977. p. 19-20.
Elevations from 4,300 feet to 7,600 feet (1300 to 2300 meters) and diverse topography create a range of climatic conditions in the Grand Gulch Plateau. Generally, the climate is characterized by cold winters and hot summers. During the coldest winter months minimum temperatures typically range from 0 to +20 Fahrenheit (-20 to -8 Celsius).
Maximum temperatures during the summer months typically range from 90 to 100 Fahrenheit (32 to 38 Celsius). Spring and fall temperatures are the most moderate with average daytime temperatures ranging from 50 to 80 Fahrenheit (10 to 27 Celsius). As expected, the highest recreation use occurs during these seasons.
Annual precipitation ranges from six to sixteen inches (15 to 40 cm). Typically, January, May, and June are the driest months; July, August, and December are the wettest months. Annual average snowfall ranges from 10 to 40 inches (25 to 100 cm). Snowfall is common from November through March. Summer rainstorms are common in July and August. The heavy rainfall often associated with these storms falling on large expanses of slickrock contributes to frequent flash floods.
(Adapted the Grand Gulch Plateau Cultural and Recreation Area Management Plan, April 14, 1993-94)
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