Warm Springs Cypress in Display Pool

Warm Springs Cypress in  Display Pool
Warm Springs Cypress in Display Pool

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Visit to Slot Canyons

May11, 2018

One of the places a ranger advised me to visit when I asked about interesting hikes in the area, was the hike to three slot canyons from a parking lot about twenty-six miles down Hole-in-the-Rock Road. From the trail-head, the hike is only about three miles, depending on how many slot canyons you visit and how far you go inside them. Actually there are two parking lots. But the one closest to  the trailhead is another mile away.  Only high clearance cars can make it.  So That added two miles to the hike.

The first adventure was surviving the twenty-one miles of washboard. (My campsite was already five miles down the road.) And getting there took a lot longer because I mostly drove under fifteen miles and hour.

The area looks fairly flat.  Then you get to the trailhead and find you are looking down to another fairly flat area. There are no signs of the slot canyons. The trail is marked with cairns.  The rocks are either stacked evenly, to tell you to go straight, or have rocks pointing to the left or right.  I started and ended the trip by not finding some of the cairns. When starting, I was also following a couple who got lost. But eventually I found the trail and began three separate steep downs, with easier trail in between.

I had to walk two extra miles because my car was too low to drive the last mile

A lizard

The vies from the top gave no clues of the three canyons below

I almost slept on this sunning snake. It is a midget-faded rattlesnake

I had two large crossings over this kind of rock, some much steeper

Finally, I started seeing the tops of trees, then got to a section shaded by a tall cliff. At the end of this I could look across a flat space to two of the slot canyons, Dry Fork and Peek-a-Boo.

After three different steep places, I reached a shady area almost to the first canyon

Peek-a-Boo Canyon - the peek-a-poo part  lets you see visitors high up in it. 

Some of the twelve foot climb into Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon - I wasn't bold enough to try it on my own

This cairn says to go straight as I hike to Spooky Slot Canyon, another half mile away

I did explore part of Spooky Slot Canyon and found it beautiful but more and more claustrophobic. The floor started out about three feet wide and rapidly narrowed to as little as four inches on the floor and about a foot at my head. I had to leave my water pack and hiking poles behind and tuck my camera in an armpit as I twisted my body sideways.  I soon got tired of the tight quarters and turned back.

Spooky Slot Canyon near the entrance

Each turn revealed more beauty

Just another view

On the way back I visited Dry Fork Canyon. It is much wider- I couldn't touch the walls in some places. A Raven was sitting somewhere inside and called. The call reverberated and sounded like it was from a bird big enough to carry me off.

Entrance to Dry Fork Slot Canyon

This slot canyon seemed spacious after visiting Spooky Slot Canyon

The floor had fallen rocks on it in places

The walls were sinuous

The canyon floor started to rise.  I didn't go to the end because I still had another two miles to go and was getting tired

This is the same area that was so shady coming in

I have to climb up and across this 

Saw many of these cacti in bloom

When this comes out, I'll be at my summer home and trying to get moved in.  That is, if I got across some water in the road.

Postscript: I'm looking at this from a motel room in Idaho Falls. I had a flat tire yesterday and had to stop and buy a new one. I would have been getting to the refuge after dark and didn't want to try to navigate some wet spots in the dark, with no cell phone service.