Weekend Adventures, part one.
My last couple of weekends have been quite busy ones. For Labor Day, James and I packed up the truck and headed west with a pile of friends (old and new). Our goal? Canyons.
Lots of canyons.
Canyoneering is the fine art of navigating a canyon via various nontechnical (walking!) and technical (rappelling, scrambling, chimney, etc) methods. James and Andy were our experts; a few others had gone on some canyons before, and the rest of us (myself included) went in cold and learned along the way.
There was lots of getting wet, and not just wading but swimming and, at one point, trying desperately to keep one’s face in the few inches of space between the top of the water and the bottom of a chokestone. And while that first swim above wasn’t bad at all, while it may be 100+ degrees above the canyon, many of the places water gathers never see the sun. Ever. That makes for a very, very chilly swim- so chilly it knocks the air right out of you and leaves you gasping in the dark.
So chilly, in fact, that hypothermia is as much a risk canyoneering in the desert as hyperthermia.
There was also a handful of good rappels- this one was somewhere around 70-80 feet. Doesn’t look that long from this angle though, does it?
There was lots of walking, of course.
Lots of walking.
This is what’s called a chimney- where you get across by straddling the canyon in some way. Sometimes the bottom of the canyon is very, very far away. Sometimes it’s not- you just want to avoid a muddy spot. It’s often easier to pass your pack ahead or tie it to yourself and let it dangle. I got a perfectly round pressure bruise right on the knob of a vertebrate from this.
All this, in some of the most raw, rugged, beautiful land in the country. And hey, it’s BLM land! Playing is free!
On a side note: I think I like using a larger setting for the pictures. What do you think? Is it too much to load?