CANYONLANDS HIKE

We ate a breakfast of berry bars, coffee for Barb and hot apple cider for me. Then we took the small pack and empty bottles to the next canyon and filled them with filtered water. The water wasn’t moving and I wasn’t too happy with its smell.

Broke camp with full packs at 8:30. The plan was to make Elephant Canyon Campsite #3 by one pm. That scheme died in the first hour on the cross from Upper Lost Canyon to Squaw Canyon. Nothing in the written descriptions prepared us for the difficulty of the transition. Straight up a solid rock cliff face. In the narrow dry canyon floor was a rock cairn marker. Fifty feet above was another. Solid rock in between. We took off our packs. I climbed with a rope in one hand.

“Aren’t you glad I told you take that rope,” said Barb.

“Yes, dear.”

“You were going to leave it, weren’t you,” she said.

Grind the teeth.

Barb stayed below as I climbed half way up the face. Barb attached one pack and I pulled it up. Then the next pack. Finally Barb climbed halfway. Then we repeated the process for the final half of the climb. Awful hard work with the sun blazing down.

We were at a notch between the two canyons. From the top we could see far out to six-shooter peak at the entrance to Canyonlands. Spectacular views in every direction in the clear blue air with no sounds or vapor trails.The Canyonlands as seen by John Wesley Powell 150 years ago.

We descended in Upper Squaw Valley but the trail didn’t stay there too long. That was unfortunate because it was quite lovely. Lush in the early fall rains. The trail took us up and out of the canyon bottom to the high stone rim where we walked for about two miles on hot, blinding sliprock. In two places we had to crawl on hands and knees because we couldn’t stand without our packs scarping the rock ledges jutting out above us. On our right side a low rock wall, above us solid rock, to our left a sheer drop into the distant valley.