Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

A rest day in Coyote Gulch, Peek-A-Boo & Spooky Canyons

Posted in Utah by canyoneering on April 13, 2011

Coyote Guch, Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon & Spooky Slot Canyon, 2BII
approximately 5 miles
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

We woke the morning following our Choprock descent completely worked. We broke camp and despite the healthy amount of food, canned beer and whiskey consumed, our packs were still way too heavy. The three plus mile hike back to the car was no labor of love, to use the cliche.

We hopped in the vehicles and moved on to Chimney Rock, which would serve as our base of operations for the next few days. During the hour drive the stiffness really set in and I started to realize that our plan of doing Raven slot that afternoon and Big Tony the following day was a bit over zealous, at least for me. For those that don’t know, both Raven and Big Tony are slots so narrow at the bottom that the canyoneer must wedge his or her body in the canyon walls up to 50- feet above the floor where the canyon is slightly wider to make passage down the canyon possible. This technique known as high stemming is both mentally and physically demanding and dangerous if a slip or mistake is made. I just did not think I had enough in the tank to do it safely. After a “Team Quatro” meeting we decided to take it down a notch and explore the Dry Forks of Coyote Gulch and then do a Headless Hen and Raven combo tomorrow. Big Tony would have to wait for a future trip.

We leisurely set up a beautiful primitive camp a stone’s throw from Chimney Rock and then drove to the trailhead for the dry forks of Coyote Gulch. It was nice to be free of ropes, wetsuits, helmets and dry bags as we explored these tight and not so easy canyons for three to four hours that afternoon. I am not sure this would be most people’s definition of a “rest day”, but it was certainly toned down enough for us to recharge our batteries for the intensity about to come.



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