Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

Musings at large & recent descent down Big Kahuna Canyon

Posted in Southern & Central Arizona by canyoneering on January 24, 2014

Brian rappels by a swirl of geology.

Big Kahuna Canyon, 3B/CIII
approximately 5 miles
Mazatzal Wilderness Area


Procrastination. I have been doing it a lot lately related to writing this blog post and others of recent trips. I often hear from those I share these wonderful adventures with that I take forever to share the photos. I can’t disagree. I tell them I should be getting that post and the pics up real soon. A month later and it still hasn’t been done.

 Sometimes a minor epic or mishap gives you a narrative to write about. Other times you are feeling inspired and the writing comes easy. Neither were or are present from this particular cold winter descent. This does not mean the experience was any less special; it’s just that much harder to write something special about. In such a case it seems easier to do the dishes or clean up my son’s toys then sit down and write. So why chronicle every or nearly every trip? (A few have in fact been left out over the years for various reasons).  I often ponder this, but always come back to the same conclusion. Life is short, but has the potential to be filled with the most amazing of experiences. For me those most special of experiences come from three main sources: family/ friends, my work and wilderness. I am extremely lucky to be blessed with health, an incredible family, a job I love and the ability to somewhat regularly venture into and experience wilderness.

We also live in a modern society where everything is recorded with 0s & 1s. They often are quickly shared and seen. From here this content resides many posts back in a Facebook account or on a hard drive literally collecting dust. Maybe actual photo albums are becoming a thing of the past, but for me this blog serves as an archive of these experiences. It is always there and not withstanding some sort of viral attack of the interweb, should always be there. Specifically, this wordpress blog allows me to organize these trips into various categories so they are logically searchable, such as features as the linkable canyon index. The blog allows me to feel close and connected to these adventures of the past. For this I will due my best to keep procrastination at bay and continue to committ to this personal archive, maybe just not in the most timely of fashion.

Cold enough and close enough to our vehicles we hightail on the trail without stripping out of our wetsuits.

A few quick notes on this recent frigid jaunt down Big Kahuna Canyon in the Mazatzal Mountains. Nearly two years earlier, Laura, Wyatt and I ventured out for the same trip. At the time Wyatt, just over a year old, rested on my back in a baby backpack as we joined Laura for the hike up the Barnhardt trail to the start of the technical canyon. We waved goodbye to Laura as she joined our friends for the canyoneering descent of Big Kahuna as Wyatt and I hiked back down to the trailhead. This time the roles were reversed. Wyatt, now over three and probably nearly 20 pounds heavier, himself said, “Goodbye.” and “They’re going canyoneering.” as we headed into the canyon and Laura and Wyatt hiked down the trail. Not much to mention about the smooth descent itself other than the gorgeous rappels through moderately flowing water, past swirls of unique geology. Great company too and we were back to our vehicles rather quickly. Just enough time for the winter desert sun to dry out the muddy road just a tad before heading home.


2013 Year in Photos

Posted in Uncategorized by canyoneering on January 6, 2014

Eric, Mark and Cody traverse a ledge in the Temple Butte narrows in Olo Canyon.

Another year. Six years now actually that I’ve been lucky enough to partake in this sport and the amazing places that it allows one to witness and experience. Along the way some new partnerships and friendships have been forged. Highlights included: a multi-day trip into the tight slots of Ticaboo Mesa near Lake Powell. An overnight backpack with Laura and my son, Wyatt, in Aravaipa Canyon. An all business four day trek through some of the best technical slots of the Grand Canyon. Getting to share with Laura one of my favorite descents in Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park. And a 45- mile paddle filled with fun and relaxation down the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon. The year ended right with back to back cold, watery descents in the final two weekends of the year in the Mazatzal Mountains. Before leaving for the final trip, Wyatt, now three asked me, “You going canyoneering? I want to go too.” Another year. Here is a look back.


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