Tuesday, June 2, 2015

6/1/15 From Slot Machines to Slot Canyons

Dry Forks Slot Canyon
Now I'm not the ultimate guide in what's hip and cool, but it seems the me that SLOT CANYONS are the newest, coolest, thing in hiking. Well maybe only new to me...

So... Way, way back in the day when I was a youthful traveler, I went to Petra. And I vividly remember the absolutely jaw dropping amazement that followed when I walked through the Siq or shaft that led to the massive temple, or Treasury.

Even though the Petra passages and slot canyons are formed differently, the siq has become my image of anything "slotty" which takes me right back to my incredible experience in Petra. Last fall, when Sam and I went to Zion, we wanted to hike The Narrows, but didn't quite have a chance. So after I found out that there were some slotty opportunities in GSENM, we made sure to plan for it...

Yesterday, we drove thirty miles to Escalante, then another twenty seven miles down the Bumpy-as-a-Mogul-Hole-in-the-Rock-Road to the area known as the Dry Fork Slots. We had the dogs with us, so we had been warned that it would be really difficult jerky of us to take them in the narrowest canyons, rightly named Peekaboo and Spooky for their more challenging styles. As the novices we were, we settled for the beginner slots--the much wider Dry Forks Slots. To get to the trail head, we drove down the uneven and gutted route to the high clearance parking lot:
In the background you can see the LOW CLEARANCE folks
Embarrassingly enough, we almost wimped out and parked in the low clearance lot, but we're glad we didn't when we arrived at the trailhead only to be faced with a Silverado in the parking lot.
Was this Alice or Mike poised to make fun of us in our Ford?
Then, when we started hiking, reality kicked in and I got nervous.
Yeah. Not comfortable.
As promised, this hike was no joke. The descent into the wash was a steep scramble slide down the rock face. We had two big dogs, and it was getting hot out.
The rock face wasn't bad for humans, but perhaps not great for furry beasts
Well it turned out that we didn't need to worry! Our mountain dogs owned this descent!
Roland's St. Bernard roots were kicking in!
We had plenty of water for all of us, and I when I saw how much both dogs got into it (Nora was leading the way!), I relaxed and enjoyed it.

When we got down into Dry Forks, I suddenly understood what people loved about slot canyons. There's just something otherworldly about the rock face and the lighting. Each turn was an entirely new perspective:
Sam with the dogs

A turn later

We didn't hike the whole trail as our dogs got rock-blocked! However high Sam lifted them, there was no way our dogs could have gotten past this:
We did do quite a bit, then we made the hot climb out and back to the truck.
Done with much of the climb

In the car on the way out
It look like this time, we had played the slots and won!
Yeah. I went there.

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