Sunday, September 6, 2015

Escalante Country

I was invited recently to go on a canyoneering trip. I jumped at the chance, as I'm trying to improve my canyoneering skills, plus it's just a lot of fun. We had originally planned to go to California, but due to the wildfires switched our plans to canyons near Escalante. I had really enjoyed the area in May (despite the rain), so was looking forward to heading back. But as I approached, I saw lots of storm clouds, an ominous sign when you want to spend time in the area's drainages.

I guess one bright side of rain clouds are rainbows.

I arrived outside Escalante at sunset, which was spectacular.
I met up with some of the others in our group and we learned that the road we wanted to go on was likely in bad shape. We decided to take a look and found out it was washed out, and a sheriff's deputy said it was even worse further on. So we parked on the side of the road, made camp, and said hi to the rest of the group when they arrived.

The morning looked good, especially with warm hashbrowns for breakfast. But the road was still washed out.

So we headed into town to Excursions of the Escalante. One of our group members had taken a canyoneering class from the owner, Rick, and was friends with him. Rick graciously pointed out another option for the day that didn't involve waiting for the road crew to fix the road. He asked that we not blog about the name or location of the canyon he sent us to, so I'll respect that. Suffice it to say, there are lots of canyons out there!

And this one involved some tight passageways, tall walls, and beautiful rock.

I only knew one other person on the trip, and it was fun meeting new folks.

We had lots of laughs as we did the canyon--like how many canyoneers does it take to pull a rope?

We also challenged ourselves to try and stay dry in places. The recent rains meant more water in the canyons. I didn't mind walking in some of it, it was a good way to cool off!

We reached a spot where everyone had to get wet.

And then we were back to another tight spot, where you could take the high route or the low route.

It turned out to be a good idea to learn how to take the high route, because in a little while we reached a spot where we could hear a little rattle. A rattlesnake blocked the way, upset at us intruding its home. Its home was the floor of a canyon about three feet wide. We clearly couldn't walk around it. There was no place to move the snake, as it was a slot canyon on either side. So we stemmed up and went over the snake. No one was injured, and we all went on our merry way.

Well, as merry as can be in super tight canyons. I sure wished I hadn't forgotten my knee and elbow pads!

We spent a great day out in canyon country, then went back into town for dinner. Afterwards we decided to drive to the trailhead for the next day's canyons. The road crew had fixed the road, but the side road we took got to a place where it was impassable for all but one of the vehicles, so we stopped there to camp. Sarah found a tarantula--nice find!

The next morning was gorgeous, and I wandered around taking some photos.

Can you see the little bit of a rainbow? Uh oh, we didn't really want moisture in the air!

A canyon I'll have to return to on another trip.

And then it was time to get ready for that day's be continued...

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates