Slot Canyons (Utah 2019 II)

Escalante is a dreamy little village on spectacular Utah Highway 12, featuring a great little restaurant in the annex of the outdoor outfitter store. For some, this place is just a stop at the most scenic portion of the highway, for others the place to begin an exploration of the many slot canyons nearby.

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Our destination was Dry Fork Trailhead, a 30 minute drive away on a bearable dirt road (Hole-In-The-Rock Road). Bring plenty of water. 

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There are four slot canyons accessible from this trail head. They are all long and narrow. We went through one of them, forth and back, because we couldn’t get up the steep boulders at the end. It would have been easier to enter at the other end at slide down.

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But only in retrospect: These canyons are really narrow, and you should never make a move that you cannot undo.

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Often one has to wedge oneself through, trying various body positions. I wonder how many people get seriously stuck there.DSC 1752

Small occasional caverns let you take a break and rearrange your limbs. I found that the most unreal part about this place is that I actually fit through. This doesn’t happen in real life.

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Don’t forget to save some water for the long hike back.

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Wahweap Hoodoos (Utah 2019 I)

Let’s begin this year’s series of posts about southern Utah with the Wahweap Hoodoos.

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To get there, drive east on Utah 89 from Kanab to Whitewater, turn left and follow the dirt road past the fish hatchery. Then hike for a few hours north-west, following the usually dry wash. In our case, it wasn’t dry, and we had to cross it eight times. A benefit are the mud formations on the way. 

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The hoodoos become eventually visible on the left side of the valley.

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There are probably about a dozen rock formations like the ones above and below, where the weather resistant hoodies have protected the columns beneath from erosion.

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During the long hike, there is plenty of time to contemplate other aspects of the landscape, like still lives of odd pieces of vegetation.

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The Grand Gulch II (25 Years Ago)

A little while ago I posted a few pictures from the Grand Gulch in Utah. This year, almost to the day, it is 25 years ago that I went there with a few hiking friends from Berkeley.

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One of them is now Math Professor in Utah. I don’t know the fate of the others in the picture. I see him occasionally at conferences.

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Pictures like the ones above are misleading. The gulch is mostly a narrow canyon, and if you think there is an exit just around the corner, it is a dead end.

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There is water, but not much. Seeing a stream like the one below is rare and means you better fill your water bottles.

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The week long hike leaves ample time to contemplate the beauty of natural walls.

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