Saturday, November 2, 2013

Escalante Slot Canyons, UT

Finally, Brandon arrives in the southwest!  We pick him up in Las Vegas, but head out the next morning for Escalante, Utah where we plan to hike slot canyons and show him the geological wonder they call the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park.  And just like last year, Brad and I can't help ourselves and we make a couple of brief stops in Bryce Canyon National Park which is on the way to Escalante.

Brad and I explored these slot canyons last year and they quickly became our favourite spots down here.  But thanks to the heavier-than-usual monsoon season in parts of the southwest this summer and fall, our favourite slot canyon - Peek-a-boo along Hole in the Rock Road outside of Escalante - is much more difficult to hike this year.  Not only do we have to climb the initial 12 or so feet to get up into the slot canyon, but each bowl of the canyon has been emptied of its sand floor down to the rock layer, sometimes several feet, by the flash floods.  So whereas last year Brad and I easily walked through the sand which was fairly even all the way to the back of the slot canyon some several hundred yards, this year we have to climb up and over stone walls to get through each section.  It is VERY difficult and we are all filthy dirty and exhausted by the end.  But Brandon has fun anyway.
Brandon helping me up into Peek-a-boo slot canyon. It's over 12 feet straight up this wall!
Now I'm pulling Brandon up into Peek-a-boo. Brad's on his own, but he's like a spider monkey!
Brandon and Marilyn in Spooky slot canyon with Moqui Marbles (iron concretions) on the orange sandstone walls.
Brandon and Brad on top of the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic fault running through Capitol Reef National Park.

Marilyn guiding Brandon down the 4x4 road to the Strike Valley Overlook at the Waterpocket Fold. This was more difficult than it looks here.

Brandon enjoying himself during a brief stop at Bryce Canyon National Park, with storms brewing in the distance.

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