Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Desert Adventures

After a ferocious trip to the desert with Ma Diegel - where she finally got to see Zion:

I needed a bit of a break in the intensity, so brother Paul, Colter Leys, and Tom Macfarlane hopped into Tom's Landcruiser for a blast back down south for some high quality slot-groveling.

We beelined for Ticaboo Mesa, which - like a lot of areas - sports a bunch of awesome slots.  I had done Hard Day Harvey with the New England and Cincinnati professional canyoneering teams, but I had missed out on HDH's adjacent brother, Good Day Jim.  And very close by lies the sorta-new-to-the-scene Dantes (or "Dante's", as the plural/posessive-challenged beta we had labeled it); a series of 5 or 6 canyons accessed by one trailhead.

Hard Day fully delivered.  It's actually not hard or scary, but it's grovelling of the first degree, and is super scenic.  Here's Tom in the heart of Hard Day:
and again, catching some nice light:

.  Until he made the leap into what actually looked pretty solid:

Here's Colter and Paul:
I'm not quite sure what Colter is signaling there!
And after several hours in the slot came the slickrock sea hike out, with Reservoir Powell looming far below:

Good Day Jim was not quite as tight, but surprised us a little bit by having no anchors in place; it appeared that no one had been in there since the September floods (no footsteps, and the "anchors" were all washed into weeds downstream of where they should be) so we got to feel like "real" intrepid canyoneers by establishing our own rappel anchors, including a fairly exciting one where there was no natural anchor spot (we filled a pack with sand, used it as an anchor, tied a line to the bottom, and after the last man rapped we pulled that line to dump the sand and pull the now-empty pack over the lip).

We tried a different exit this time, again for another brilliant sandstone hike:

We drove a few miles over to what we agreed was The Best Campsite in the World:

Overlooking what seemed like most of the Utah desert, where Tom celebrated in fine style by pouring himself a cooking pot of fine wine:

We then dropped into Limbo (the others are fittingly:  Inferno, Purgatory, etc) which dropped precipitously downward with some grand groveling
Colter waving goodbye as he backs down a hole
and stellar clambering:

Limbo is notable for an unprotected stem across an unusually-deep pothole:
Paul's breathing hard here because he's hoping his test shoes hold enough to keep him from plunging into the abyss below
With what appeared to be some pothole challenges:

and finishing off with a beautiful, dramatic rappel into a nice spring:

and once again, a beautiful hike out over awesome sandstone. 

If for no other reason canyoneering is great because it "forces" hikes over some incredible sandstone terrain that we'd otherwise never do.  

Incredible area, literally no other folks out there, plenty of yuks with the boys; hard to beat. 

It'll be different than the next few days; Ash and I are headed off to an urban wilderness class 5 adventure in New York City for her 45th birthday!  That will definitely result in some nutty blawgable tales.  

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