Thursday, May 03, 2007

Slot Canyons

Utah is famous for it's rock formations. After Zion, Bryce and Grand Staircase, we thought it would be fun to get off the beaten path. Some friendly locals directed us to a lesser-visited bunch of slot canyons near the foothills of Escalante, UT. Slot canyons are an interesting phenomenon, and they can seem quite spooky. To get to these, we had drive off-road for about 27 miles across some open grazing land and BLM areas.

We weren't disappointed, and even though the heat poured on during the start of our hike and rainclouds threatened later that day, we thought it'd be fun to take the short (about 1 mile) hike around the washes and canyons next to the access road. We didn't have a map, but there were footprints and some cairns that guided us.

They certainly were fun to walk through, and as they got shallower into the prairie, they narrowed dramatically.

PeakABoo and Spooky both narrowed or curved in such ways that it resembled climbing. We didn't try to push the doggies through all the twists, staying content to reach a safe distance in, let Han shoot photos and then turn around.

There were some guests waiting for us on the way back. First, a rattlesnake was heading across the path. I spotted him before he spotted us, and I got the doggies away and let him continue onward. That rattle, when they do get spooked, sure is an alarming sound! There's no mistaking it. It's so continuous its like hiss.

Also heading out, some cows were grazing along the road. For the most part, they move away from cars but one small group had a stubborn male that faced full-on to the car and I thought we may have a bullfight of sorts. But after about 30 seconds of some yelling and slowly moving forward, he decided he'd rather not head-butt our front fender.

After that we headed on a long rally drive through Utah, into one of the most wild and exciting parts of the trip. You'll have to stay tuned for that one, coming up in a few posts, but I'll give you a hint: Deer, Elk and a Wolf at 9000 feet!

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