Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

Summer time in Voodoo Canyon

Posted in Northern Arizona & the Mogollon Rim by canyoneering on May 14, 2009

Voodoo Canyon, 3BIII
6.5 miles
Coconino National Forest, tributary of Secret Canyon

For most Arizonians, particularly those that live in the Phoenix metropolitan area, summer is nothing to be excited about and in many regards I can’t disagree. Along with the fast approaching and apparently early to arrive oppressive triple digit days of Arizona is the anticipation and excitement of summer canyoneering on the Mogollon Rim.

The Mogollon Rim is a 200-mile long escarpment that cuts across north central Arizona to elevations of over 7000 feet above sea level. It represents the southwest edge of the Colorado Plateau. The rim is a magical place that features a maze of sandstone canyons covered in a surprisingly dense forest that somehow still manages to remind you that the desert is not far away. With unusually high temps for May we decided to make a somewhat early descent of a Mogollon Rim canyon, Voodoo Canyon.

In typical fashion the trip started by camping the night before near the start of the hike. Canyon tales over beers around a camp fire in a deep forest many miles from civilization is such an apt way to spend the eve of yet another adventure. Vodoo Canyon did not disappoint.

After getting somewhat turned around on the brushy approach through the forest and neighboring canyons we corrected ourselves and entered our objective. Before not too long the yellow Coconino sandstone walls covered in a thin velvety layer of green moss got higher as the canyon got deeper and narrower. One rappel followed another past remains of giant trees into stagnant pools of cold, somewhat clear water with a rusty tint. This combination of rock, water, light and diverse vegetation, both living and dead created a truly mystical environment.

After the technical section ended we entered Secret Canyon at its confluence with Vodoo. The ascent up the non-technical but equally beautiful Secret Canyon was the start of our return to our car. Several turns into side drainages of Secret Canyon was our planned return route but somewhere in this debris covered maze we made a wrong turn into the wrong corridor, which took several hours to correct. Cut up, grimy, hot and parched we made it back to our vehicle. Summer is here and I couldn’t be more delighted.



3 Responses

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  1. Ira said, on May 17, 2009 at 3:55 am

    Vodoo Canyon is a great name! Looking good – stay safe!

  2. Bernell said, on June 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Great job. best I’ve seen. Got to get out again, soooooooooooooon.
    Thanks. I live in Delta Utah about three hours from Zion. It’s the best.

  3. […] unique to the space found between these sandstone walls. I really enjoy the report from that first descent, so check it out and below you will find some pics from the most recent […]

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