24 November 2009


Or something like that.

Just because I hike them does not mean I remember their names...
As a matter of fact, often Rich has to drop me a note and let me know that I've slipped up.

Once I was a perfectionist that got embarrassed by such things...now I'm not.

(ok, I am)

So, this canyon hike Rich planned out (there were several ideas he had to choose from) consisted of hike hike hike...slot canyon.


I waved my arms around a lot at that suggestion.

I love slot canyons.

I also love waving my arms around a lot.
It makes me feel like a Muppet.

Now.  After yesterday's cautionary tale of the famed rock formation The Control Tower, you'd almost bet that we couldn't find this canyon because it was listed in the same book we had used for trying to find the stupid rock formation, so in all probability the slot canyon didn't exist...but as it's attached to Buckskin Gulch, and Rich already knew where that was (due to a previous trip out to see The Wave...) I figured we were in good hands and wouldn't be slogging all over tarnation (that's western speak for BFE.)

Plus?  As an added bonus...Rich's knee hurt from all the dancing he did the day before, so we couldn't go hiking across any sand dunes.  Phoey.

Cause I was totally up for it.

yeah right.
(actually, I go to they gym most days...so I wasn't that bad off)

So. we parked the car at the parking lot and set off.  While we were in the parking lot we saw groups of campers who were in shorts and I scoffed because it was still very cold and they were probably going to freeze (cause I was wearing 3 layers complete with fleece lined wool gloves and hat.)  Rich then took that moment to suggest that maybe it was us that were cold and those people had most likely spent the night in a heated space and in a bed (this immediately made me miss my bed.  And heat.  And running water...and chocolate cake.  What?  It was morning, and I hadn't eaten yet...we could barely thaw the water for decaf for crying out loud.)

Show off short hiker people.

We hiked mostly in a creek bed (that was dry, because we were still cold remember...so no water is good water, which is exactly the opposite of what you think in the Summertime) passed the turn off trail for The Wave (which I knew Rich was itching to go on...and made me ask him if there are actually people checking your passes somewhere in there, and how would they know that you weren't supposed to be there, or that you had been there at all?  I mean, does your DNA change as soon as you see The Wave?  Is there a cheek swab test I missed back at the parking lot?  Rich said it didn't matter, because would be cheating if we went up there...he quickly went on to suggest that perhaps we would have better luck on a weekday if we wanted to go that route since apparently you almost have to kill someone to obtain a pass to even see this place...)

A large log stuck in between the canyon walls...most likely due to the insane pressure of many pounds of rushing water during rain storms.

After hiking quite some way down this creek bed (making me hot...apparently it's hotter in this part of Utah.  Don't even talk to me about shorts...) we came to the opening of the canyon and the start of the slots...which made me giddy.

I will try to explain myself.

Being in a slot canyon is like being in the Earth and having her throw her arms around you and hold you in a safe embrace...and really?  Who doesn't like hugs?  Well...that's not to say that you'd want this particular hug during a rainstorm...because like a hug from a busty aunt or cheeky uncle during the holidays, it would most likely leave you quite broken and dead..

The light in a slot canyon is also so diffuse and beautiful...which is most likely due to the high walls and confined space therein.  This particular canyon was pink, red, yellow and orange...and was all stripey, due to the sandstone that was forming it.

I decided that maybe the reason I like slot canyons so well is because it's like happening upon a great secret cave.  Only you still have fresh air and daylight.  Cause I'm not sure about actual deep caves or underground things...I have problems watching Jock Cousteau and most of the stuff he does without feeling a bit sweaty and looking around the room for the nearest Exit.

Or maybe it's just that with all the curving around, slot canyons happen to be really good feng shui, the way they caress you with their curves and beckon you to turn their next corner to see what is up ahead.  Combine that with these amazing colors and all the stripes on the walls and you've got a pretty great seduction going on.

Oh Mother Nature..

You big flirt.

Also...if you aim just right, the pictures you get while in a slot canyon makes you really look like you know what you're doing.

I wish I could say that Rich was jumping for joy as much as I was.  He has discovered he's a bit wary of slot canyons now, and doesn't think of them as warm hugs from a lost lover but more like bear hugs from a potential enemy.  This fact annoys him.  I know how that feels.  After all...he made me hike UP on some rocks the day before and I was totally nervous (and other things...) so I was totally prepared to turn to him and say, "Get in there boy!"  but, he'd already charged ahead, so I was left standing there talking to myself.


We did discover something though...Rich was actually very calm and seemed at more at home than he usually does in a slot canyon.  My personal theory is that while the other slot canyon we've been to is sand...this one is rock, and he being an experienced rock climber means that rocks speak to him more than sand.  He's already good friends with the rocks and they have held court before, and decided to become good friends.  I could really tell he was fine when he stood and fiddled with the head of his tripod instead of walking out of the canyon when we were hiking back...even though he could see the end of the canyon just mere feet away.

Whatever it was...he was fine.  Only a little nervous (he admitted to me)  And I made sure I didn't say anything at all about how happy I was that we weren't claustrophobic (cause I did that once before totally offhanded mind you, and it was not OK...and I've felt very bad about it since.)  Or how I could stand in the middle of the canyon and touch both sides with my hands.  Oh wait.  I did say that...complete with a demonstration.  I think it went something like this:

"Hey!  This is like standing in my kitchen at home!"
while putting my hands out to touch the sides of the canyon.

But, it didn't throw him at all...he just laughed at me.
I was both proud of him and excited.

More Rich time in slot canyon =  More Sadira time in slot canyon

The only thing that made him hesitate was the first large drop down the canyon floor.  You see, when the water rushes through these small areas, like a lot of creek beds, it steps down and down and down...leaving large piles of rocks behind which create large drops down to the next part of the creek bed floor (there is a word for it, but I have no idea what the heck it is, I just kept thinking how pretty it would be to see it full of water...like all these waterfalls everywhere...you know, as long as you weren't being crushed to death)  But that first big drop?  It was several feet...like about 100...or 15 or something like that, I don't know, I have a problem with distance and square feet and whatnot...but not to worry.

There was a ladder down.

I spied it when I looked over the edge (feeling a bit sweaty at the time because heights do that to me...we're quite the pair, Rich and I...but at least we spend a lot of time practicing encouragement and making up little cheers for each other) So, Rich got down on his tummy and put his feet over and felt around for a while and said, "Nope. I can't touch it...nevermind."  And I was like, "I'll do it!  Get up..." (only in a more encouragy sing-songy sort of way)  So, I got down on my tummy, swung my legs over the rock and let myself stretch out (which is one of the reasons why I take yoga) and found the top of the ladder...knowing that Rich would catch me if I slipped.  Even though he had a pack on...and was holding his camera attached to a tripod and my full camera bag was in his way.

I wonder why I thought that?

Anyway, set my foot on the top step of the ladder, felt it move under my weight and said, "Ohhhhh...it's moovey!"  And he said, "Nope.  Not comfortable with this!"  and I said, "Oh come on! I'm already down here...If I can do it, you can do it..."  Mostly because I was already worried about how the heck I was going to get back UP the rocks (which is the other reason why I do yoga) and I thought it would be nice to help him out, because I wanted to take the opportunity to cop a feel he always helps me out whenever he can...

I didn't think this was the best time to mention that the ladder was actually a step ladder.

I didn't figure that would help the situation any.

But, he got down just fine...in fact, we got down the next set of stones...but the next set?  Yeah...Rich determined that was about a 12 foot drop and was all sandy and had no place to put our hands to grip and that he would probably slip and crack his jaw open..and after the recent bout of dentistry he's just had done, we figured it would be a bad investment in his future.

Also?  I was totally unsure I could get back UP.  And if I'm worried about UP?  I can't enjoy myself at all...because all I think is UP?  UP?  What am I going to do if I can't get back UP?  Become some sort of slot canyon dweller existing on the meager offerings of other day hikers?

Probably Rich would have hauled me back UP over the rocks like he had to do on the step ladder part of the hike...Poor guy.  I can NOT for the life of me figure out how to get my foot up by my ear and still have enough umph to get purchase with said foot and haul myself UP anything.  So, Rich planted his feet...and pulled me up.  He said he was a bit worried because I leaned back and he thought I was going to fall backwards...and then I would have probably hit my head, and we all know how that goes.

(I believe there is actually some sort of video footage of all of this that he is working into a podcast.  I'll let you know when that's up, for your enjoyment...maybe we can aim for Thanksgiving so that you have something to do while digesting your feast...Sadira in a slot canyon not climbing UP rocks and referring herself as a grease ball.  What?  Sleeping in a fleece lined wool hat for several nights has that kind of effect on one's hair)

So, we reluctantly turned back...promising that it would be fun to come back during the summer and hike in from the other direction where there's water and wider slot canyons.  Really...something for everyone in that case.

I'm angling for my birthday or our anniversary.

Rich also admitted on the hike back to the car that he'd read somewhere that perhaps you should bring some rope while hiking this canyon...which made me laugh (internally...outwardly I probably grimaced) because I can't even begin to figure out how I would use rope to do anything but get caught up in and then be swinging upside down from a bunch of boulders.

If this happens you can bet I'll make Rich podcast that too.


thatgirldina said...

I am sooo enjoying reading about your trip....it's all so amazingly beautiful, silly, romantic and adventurous, all wrapped up into one...just like you! :) Your pics are gorgeous and it looks like such a lovely getaway.

Anonymous said...

So very cool!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!!!!



Suzanne said...

Isn't Wire Pass one of one THE most amazing slot canyons ever? It is a bit of a hike (hot in the summer) to get there, but it is worth it! My ex and I used to take our tour groups out there. Funny location too, one of those, are we in AZ or UT moments too. So glad you got to do this trip. This is a BIG thing I miss about living so far south now...too far to get up there for just a few days.

Happy Thanksgiving Sadira!


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