Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back, again.

Crested Butte has been dropping snow on me since I got here yesterday, a night and day difference from the desert environment I just spent the past month in...

5 weeks or so ago LB and I went back to UT to take care of some unfinished business that we missed this spring.

Biz like:

hiking thru the ruins of Grand Gulch
exploring the slot canyons and natural arches around Coyote Gulch
Hiking the lenght of the Paria River to Buckskin Gulch, then hanging out in my favorite spot in UT, the Coyote Buttes

and the CRUX:

hiking the last 120 miles of the Hayduke Trail from the Grand Canyon to Zion.

Naturually, it all turned into a better adventure than expected, complete with loads of photos that I'll eventually get to uploading. Grand Gulch was a nice start, and every canyon after that just got better and better. The canyon that grew as we went upstream around the Paria River might be the most colorful I've seen, and man did we get WET constantly fording the not so deep "river". Buckskin Gulch was fun, and exploring the high teepees and fun slickrock around the Coyote Buttes turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.

Coyote Gulch was one of the greenest spots we saw in Utah, aside from the high-altitude stuff around Boulder Mtn, which we hitched over. Ferns and seeps and trees and just oh so verde down in the Gulch. Nat'l Bridges, Arches, and not too many people. Zebra and Peek-A-Boo were very beautiful, non-technical slot canyons that were nearby, and yea, lots of other surprises too.

Some technical canyoneering came next further east with some friends from CO, then we did a surprise 3 day trip in the sleeper national park in UT...Capital Reef. Really really funky landscape where all of the plateaus and peaks had a really confusing slant to them from creases in the earth's crust.

After those fun little 4 to 5 day trips, it was time for what I was the most excited about, and that was the mini thru-hike from GC to Zion, and it didn't dissappoint. Epic hitchhiking first to get out to a really remote spot on the north rim of the GC, which made us roadwalk at least 15 miles on dirt forest service roads to get out there. Every time I go back to that canyon I appreciate it more and more, and nothing can make you enjoy it more than spending the previous weeks exploring the best canyons that the area had to offer. And all of them paled in comparison, at least in terms of size. Yea the canyon always felt large, but this time I finally had a good reference point since I've seen more canyons, and it was epic. So beautiful.

Hiked down to the river in a day, rock-hopped, cursed, fell, and got free beers from rafters till we finally made the 7 miles downriver to Kanab Creek. The canyon here was green green green, full with fun "Chokestone Alley's", and the best spring I've seen in my life. 21 miles later Hack Canyon hit Kanab and we headed northwest along it. Hack was wider, and I may have enjoyed the not so claustrophobic canyon a tiny bit more. Hack finally opened up fully and we were on the Arizona Strip. FLAT and lots of dirt road walking, around 50 miles worth. I was surprised at how beautiful i found the place. could see for miles, and could see Colorado City, our only resupply point for a day.

CO City was just as strange as I was expecting it to be. One advantage of being in a polygamist town is that they have huge families, and huge familes need lots of food. Therefore, the bulk food section in the grocery store was impressive, and the food was cheap. the highlight of town for sure.

Climbed thru the canyons out of town and got up high before dropping down into Parunuweap Canyon which would take us into Zion. This canyon was probably the highlight of the trip. Fall was in full swing down there and the trees were all yellow, orange, and red, and I was all smiles. Such an inredible place. Followed a seriously sketchy route to climb up to the rim of the canyon, up onto the East Rim of Zion Canyon, camped way up high for a good view, then dropped down into the canyon to finish the trail at Weeping Rock.

I'm hoping to put together a really nice trip report with photos in the coming weeks before departing for Baja, Mexico to start the next trip, and surely the most epic yet. No ending planned, speaking a foreign language in a land that we have no knowledge or plans for....

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