Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lake Powell in October

We did our annual Lake Powell Trip this year over the UEA weekend. It was late in the year, but our lucky streak continued. We had fabulous weather! Since our group was small this year, we chose to camp further up the lake below Gregory Butte and not at Cookie Jar Canyon as in many previous years. We also didn't get in a cool hike at the end of a slot canyon, but we did make it to Rainbow Bridge which does require a 2/3 mile hike since the Lake is still low. Our attempt to find a neat slot in Cathedral Canyon was thwarted by very narrow waterways that I was not willing to take my new boat into. Still, we had smooth water, warm temps, and a great sandy beach and a star-filled sky at night. I really look forward to this annual trip each year and my only regret is having to leave so soon each time. We especially relished our time with Marty as he will not be able to join us for a couple of years.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Marty and I just got back from a 2 day adventure down Kolob Creek. We started Monday morning and drove up to Lava Point and bushwhacked over to the head of Kolob Creek. Canyoneering through Kolob is always a challenge and thick wet suits or dry suits are a necessity. We chose to don dry suits this time. We also had heavy packs as we planned to spend the night in Kolob before hiking out of the Narrows the second day. These heavy packs make rappelling and swimming more challenging. The first part of the canyon is quite technical and has several raps and some very deep and cold pools of water. Everything was going well until the last (and the longest at 165 feet) rappel. Marty got hung up on a knot about 100 feet up and while free hanging. It took him 30 minutes to solve this problem and continue rappelling down into the large pool below. Once down we began to hike down the deep and narrow canyon. A few more swims and short rappels we passed the MIA route (our usual exit from the canyon, albeit a steep and grueling hike out) and continued down Kolob. We finally made our camp somewhere above the confluence of Kolob and the North Fork of the Virgin. The next morning we began the fairly long journey down the Narrows. The fall leaves were beautiful and the river clear. Of course it was cold and it was nice to get home and be warm again. The hike down the Narrows is always spectacular, but it is challenging with a heavy pack. I did slip and fall down hard once and it left me with some bruises. Marty did well, but also admitted to some sore back muscles. It was fun to do a challenging canyon with Marty and spend the night in the backcountry of Zion. Choosing a difficult and seldom visited canyon added to the adventure.

Rattlesnake Creek

I did take the scouts down Rattlesnake Creek into Ashdown Gorge this past weekend. We made it to our camp spot right at dark. The next day was fun as we hiked down the Gorge. This trip a few of us did hike up the bottom portion of Rattlesnake Creek to see the waterfalls there. I chose to jump the stream all day to keep my feet dry. It proved to be a challenge and was the cause of much soreness the next day. One of the scouts decided to count how many times we crossed the small stream that day. The final count............77 times. No wonder I was so sore! As usual, Eric did fine and carried the tent for us. I think his pack was actually a bit heavier than mine. Cool.