The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Past Due

Now that I'm less than two weeks away from a trip to Utah, I thought it might be time to share the rest of the  story and images of the trip my friends (ArcFlash, Young Tim, and O'Neil ) and I did in 2013. This trek to the desert southwest, in conjunction with the two previous ones, have been so profound that I find myself daydreaming about them almost daily. I did write about the first portion of our trip, packrafting down the Colorado River in Arizona and finding our way through the desert and back to our vehicle. This was a crazy idea pieced together from a 3-4 minute conversation with a Page AZ resident about kayaking in 2011, a brief description of a route to the Colorado River below the Glen Canyon Dam in an out of date guide book, hours spent on Google Earth, and the intractable desire to get to the bottom of the canyon. When we completed the loop I was in disbelief. I was also relieved since I had convinced three others to join me, and I didn't want to let them down.
First bit of swimming in Fry after a rappel 

Young Tim   on rope

I thought the ruins looked more intact from the bottom of the canyon, they weren't but interesting none the less

  Where I left off ..... The four of us driving late into the night (3 am)for our next leg of the adventure, canyoneering. When we woke the next morning after a terrible nights sleep (more of a nap) next to a road in the middle of nowhere we had a little more driving to do. Unfortunately it was raining a little and could potentially make the canyons dangerous...flash flood. We decided on Fry Canyon, ArcFlash and myself had done this one the year before. It was easy, and after the initial slots it opened up very wide making it what we thought would be safe, if the water came up unexpectedly.
We had to go back up the cliff 

These are the worn moki steps, barely visible and marginal for a safe accent to the top. I might add that just below is a 50-60 foot drop and we had to go up from this point another 50' or so

getting ready to drop in to Duckett, note streaks of rain in the photo

O'Neil rapping off a chock-stone, looks scary but it's solid

AF in his element
  Fry Canyon went without incident and was a good warm up for our group. When we were there the previous year, AF and I noted a large ruin tucked under a ledge that was visible on the way down canyon. We were unable to access it at that date but I was determined to reach it this time around. It was a very scary endeavor smearing down the steeply sloped slab high above the canyon floor to the almost non-existent moki steps. Moki steps are basically depressions/steps carved into the rock. These ancient ruins are still something that blows my mind and to think I was using the very same steps people used a thousand years ago was surreal.  Headed back to the van the sun was shining now and we all enjoyed an easy stroll and a hot lunch shortly after.

We rode our bikes down a rough road the van would not be able to manage to get to Powell. With nothing to lock them to, we locked them together 

bath time

  Waiting out more rain, we were not able to do much until the late afternoon. We decided on Duckett Slot due to the relatively short amount of time it would take to complete. This little slot was fantastic! It had a lot to offer in such a short distance of less than a half mile, several rappels, down climbing, stemming, swimming, and wading. The next morning, Monday the 6th, we were greeted with more rain, this was really disappointing. We came to canyoneer and the only thing that could really stop us was rain in the form of flash flooding. Later in the afternoon we would be driving and setting up for an overnight backpack trip. This meant our window of opportunity for a morning canyoneering trip was not going to be possible. Not wanting to waste any of our precious time we decided to drive a short distance to Lake Powell and mess around in the packrafts. This turned out to be a really fun  although short. As luck would have it the sun came out and shown brightly, taunting us, as we took turns jumping off large rocks on the shoreline and swimming around like a bunch of otters.
This scene of gear sprawled out in preparation of a change in discipline would repeat it's self throughout the trip. Everyone always worked fast and would be packed and ready in about 30 minutes  for the next undertaking 

Bike shuttle 

First ruin encountered down &^%$#* Canyon

Hard to believe this ceiling/roof is like a thousand years old , complete with knots tied in some sort of grass

   By mid afternoon it was go time for another van ride, gear change, bike shuttle set-up and our overnight backpack trip. Just before 6 pm were on the ground hiking, towards our camp some 5 to 6 miles away. We stopped numerous times to marvel at many ancient ruins ,wishing we could stay just a little longer at each one. It was nearly dark when we reached our predetermined goal. We setup camp in the fading light and enjoyed a hot meal however simple it was.
This seams like it would be a good place to live 1000 years ago

This place was really cool, could have stayed for a long time but it was getting dark and we had to move on

Camp,   not a flat spot in the place big enough for the smallest tent , much less 3 of them

Granary above camp

  AF and I climbed high above the camp after dinner to check out a granary that was hauntingly visible from camp. The small opening in the rock and mud structure faced our direction and every few seconds I found myself glancing up to it, thinking I would see someone in the opening. Obviously there was no one there, but this place has an energy about it that makes you feel like you have moved back in time to when it was inhabited. AF and I descended in the dark back to camp, spending a while longer chatting amongst our group and reminiscing about the events of the last few days before going to sleep.


  1. You know how to live!

    1. Dang, I should have called you, we're leaving next Thursday May 1 if your interested in joining us

  2. Good Post. I really need to write my story, I was there but don't know I remember enough. This year we really need to find something better. :)