ILX Drive: Shinob Kibe Hike in Southern Utah

Odometer (Legend):  528,062


Odometer (ILX):  61,263



It’s tradition in my family to do a little hiking each Thanksgiving weekend.  Even though I lived in St. George, Utah for almost 10 years, I had never heard of “Shinob Kibe.”  The name comes from a Paiute Indian deity who was considered protector of the tribes.  From what I’ve been able to learn, Shinob means “great spirit” and Kibe means “mountains.”  The butte that we climbed also has significance in aviation history:

Back in the 1930s, the Civil Aviation Authority was trying to figure out a way to help guide the small mail-carrying aircraft that were traveling between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.  A series of concrete navigation arrows were constructed on the ground at 10-mile intervals throughout the length of that trip.  The concrete arrows are still in place today.  From overhead, they look relatively small, but they are actually 70 feet in length.

Each arrow had a 51-foot-tall steel tower constructed next to it.  A (one-million-candle-power!) rotating beacon at the top of the tower would illuminate the arrow.  More on this here:

Even the dumbest of air mail pilots, it seems, could follow a series of bright yellow arrows straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon. By 1924, just a year after Congress funded it, the line of giant concrete markers stretched from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Cleveland, Ohio. The next summer, it reached all the way to New York, and by 1929 it spanned the continent uninterrupted, the envy of postal systems worldwide.

This is a map of what that network of arrows looked like at one time.


Here’s the navigation arrow that we hiked to on Shinob Kibe, as seen from Google satellite images:


The hike itself was relatively short but the elevation gain was intense, with a climb of about 750 feet in less than one mile.  When we made it to the summit, it was a special feeling to stand on that historic arrow and recognize its importance.  There was a log box there where we signed in with our names & the date.

Yesterday, I made the return 430-mile drive to my home in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Along the way, I took a couple of impromptu detours.  The first was a stretch of old US Highway 91 between Littlefield, Arizona and Mesquite, Nevada where I captured this picture in the morning light.  I had the road to myself!


The second was a short visit to an 1860’s mining town north of Kingman, Arizona called “Chloride” which I’ll save for a separate blog entry in the near future.  Below are the photos and video that we took during our hike at Shinob Kibe.

On Friday afternoon, we loaded up the Acura ILX with with bottled waters and a few snacks for the ascent.


Tia, Todd, and Tyson in Transport to the Trail.  Is that enough T’s for you?  Some other friends followed in a separate vehicle to meet us in Washington where the hike began.


We parked at the trailhead which is now part of a residential community on Paiute Drive.  Back in the 1930s, there were no homes anywhere near this area but suburban growth has brought development right to the base of the mountain.


Soon we were on our way to find this elusive navigation arrow.  Pictured here are Melynn, Holly, and myself (notice, with trail notes printed and in-hand!).


Todd and Tia making their way up the face of the mountain.  We initially had a tough time finding the trail itself, so we forged our own way until we met up with it.


Melynn was taking a breather to admire the surrounding views.


Late afternoon weather was optimal.  We got our cardio workout in while burning off some of those Thanksgiving calories.


After we zig-zagged our way up the face of the peak, the trail leveled out a bit.  Just a bit further up the sloping grade, we could see a post with a metal box attached to it.  We had arrived!


Here I was standing at the tip of the arrow, at elevation 3,228 feet.


Danielle and Melynn set to work signing us into the register.  There were multiple filled notebooks inside the metal box.  The summit is also a popular place for geocaching.


The concrete arrow today is still in decent shape with surprisingly little cracking.  The center square pad is where the 50-foot-tall tower once stood; we could still see the base of the metal tower that had been cut off.


Mitch, Tyson, Todd admiring the arrow.


Standing at the top of the world – or at least on top of one of the many peaks in Washington County, Utah.


The view from this area is stunning, since it wraps a full 360 degrees.


Tia was visibly a bit nervous to be standing on the edge of a several hundred foot dropoff.


Holly and I weren’t too concerned, however.


Group shot (thanks Melynn for taking it!):  Todd, Tia, Holly, Tyson, Mitch, Danielle


The descent went quickly.


And soon, we had arrived back at our chariot!


Sunday’s return to Phoenix started around 7:30 in the morning, as I made my way down Interstate 15 to the Arizona state line on a crisp November day.


The detour along old Highway 91 took me across this old bridge that’s barely wide enough for two cars to squeeze by one another going opposite directions.  I love exploring infrastructure like this, and I took the opportunity to park the ILX and walk around beneath the bridge for a few minutes.


My last oil change in the ILX was on August 17th, 2013 at 52,237 miles.  At 61,016 miles (8,689 miles later!), the “Maintenance Minder” popped up and alerted me that remaining oil life was at 15% and instructed me to schedule an A13 service.  I spoke on the phone with Acura of Tempe and learned that an A13 includes oil and filter change, tire rotation, and replacement of the transmission fluid.  I’m scheduled for that service tomorrow.


Until next time!

11 Responses to “ILX Drive: Shinob Kibe Hike in Southern Utah”

  1. I never knew there were arrows across the US to help pilots! (not a bad idea actually)
    No hiking up here in the NW as its pretty soggy.
    Hope you had a great thanksgiving weekend Mr. Hugie.

    • Dave, the existence of the arrows was news to me as well! I guess in the days before GPS tracking, airlines had to do the best that they could. Very fascinating stuff. I’d like to do a little more exploring and find the other arrow locations. Thanks for reading – hope you & your fam had a great Thanksgiving, too.

  2. Lucky you, Tyson! Being able to get out there and work off those Thanksgiving calories and for the award, a stunning view once you’ve reached your hike.

    I really have no excuse to not be out myself. Just the ‘cold weather’ and pure laziness is all I’ve got.

    • Has it been chilly out in NC these days? We do love our nice winter weather here in the southwest, but we pay for it between May & September when it’s toasty hot. Hope you had a great holiday with your family.

      • Thanks Tyson, hope you had a great Holiday as well. Our lows have been close to the lower 20’s and our highs may or may not top the upper 40’s on some days. This week we’re having great weather. Perfect for our Track meet tomorrow!

  3. Wow! Beautiful and scenic trip, while burning Thanksgiving calories!
    By the way, I was wondering, do you always go by the Maintenance Minder in your Acura? I had always thought you changed the oil every 5k regardless.

    • Good memory, Todd – you’re right, all the way up until about the 50,000 mile mark I was going at a religious 5,000-mile interval with my 0W20 oil changes. However, I have spoken with various people at the source – Honda HQ – who have assured me that the car is designed to (and in fact, needs to) be driven until the Maintenance Minder says 15% for it to call for the appropriate services that it needs. Coming from a strict 3,000 mile interval on the Legend, this is a tough change for me to adapt to, but it’ll save me a few bucks on maintenance so I’ll give it a whirl.

  4. Another hike chalked up to good memories and good exercise — and great weather! We need to be planning the next one, and the next…

    The ILX has seen some amazing territory, and as I have said before, if it could talk, I would interview it and get ITS version of all the tripping! Happy trails!

  5. Amazing now how long the new cars can go between synthetic oil changes. Our ’05 GMC maint minder I usually let get down around 10% before I change the oil with synthetic…but that usually equates to about 6000 or so miles. But I believe that was based on using regular Dino oil so I can probably push it to closer to 10k.

    • Yeah probably true. I was surprised to get 9,000 miles out of an oil change. Felt very “awkward” for me to exceed my usual interval my 3 times. I forgot to do this, but the next time I’d like to have them save a sample of my used oil so I can send it to Blackstone for complete analysis.

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