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Krill and Lomatium Canyons, Arches NP, Utah

Imagine, if you will, a vast maze composed of red sandstone spires, deep vertical cracks, ramps and fins taking you up and down what look like blind passages, incredible arches and ancient juniper trees lifting their branches to the sky. This, my friends, is the famous Fiery Furnace, located in Arches NP near Moab. The Fiery Furnace is one of the most popular hikes in Arches and requires a permit that can be obtained one week in advance. Permits are available at: Self-Guided Fiery Furnace Exploration - Arches, Arches National Park Tours -, at 8am MDT. These permits go very fast, usually within a few minutes, so if you want one, plan on being at your computer at 8am MDT. Permits need to be picked up in person at the Arches Visitor Center the day of or day before your hike, which includes watching an informative video and [...]

By |2024-05-09T03:55:38+00:00March 30, 2024|canyoneer, Utah|0 Comments

North Coyote Buttes (AKA the Wave), Arizona

North Coyote Buttes, also known as “The Wave” is truly one of the most magical places I have ever visited. Each time we go, there are new wonders to explore. Everything from dinosaur tracks to incredible lace rock to intricately cut alcoves with sand dunes can be found here. This March, some of our canyoneering friends came to visit from out of state. Due to threatening weather, we took them to White Pockets and played the daily lottery from the top of the butte. Fortuitously, our friend Jess won the lottery, so we got to go for our fifth time and play tour guide. Let’s start with the basics. The Wave is one of the most difficult permits to obtain in the United States. Only 64 people per day are allowed to visit, with thousands of entries to the lottery. There are two types of lotteries, daily and advance. [...]

By |2024-04-25T15:44:23+00:00March 13, 2024|arizona, hike|0 Comments

White Pocket, Arizona

The Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, on the border or Utah and Arizona, is one of the greatest geological treasures in the United States. Deep within its heart, hidden in a maze of sandy roads are three incredible sites, all located within several miles of each other: The Wave (North Coyote Buttes), South Coyote Buttes and White Pocket. Of these three sites, White Pocket is the only one currently accessible without a permit. Many years ago, on our first trip to the southwest, my husband and I booked a tour of White Pocket and it proved to be the gateway drug that led to us eventually moving to southern Utah. So be careful! A trip here might just change your life 😊. Located in a fairly small area, you may want to allocate three to four hours for the hike. The drive might take two or more hours each way. [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:12:00+00:00March 11, 2024|arizona, hike|0 Comments

Soap Creek, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Soap Creek is a thoroughly delightful canyon, located in Marble Canyon, Arizona. This short and engaging canyon has it all – a fantastic approach (straight off a parking lot), gorgeous views, interesting and beautiful rappels and a challenging scramble back to the car. This canyon requires a short shuttle, with the entry in a large parking lot next to Cliff Dwellers Lodge off Highway 89A. The drainage starts immediately next to the parking lot, with a few minutes’ walk under a bridge that crosses the highway. Beta is available here: Soap Creek Canyon - ropewiki. No permits are required. When we did this canyon in mid-March, there was water flowing all throughout the wash, which made for a very fun day. When we started out that morning, it was cold and windy, so we were very much interested in not getting wet if possible, but we still brought our [...]

By |2024-05-09T04:00:02+00:00March 10, 2024|arizona, canyoneer, grand canyon|0 Comments

Lower Waterholes Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arizona

On a cold morning in mid-March we pulled up to a small pullout on Highway 89 in Arizona above the entrance to the Lower Waterholes Canyon slot. Our group of seven was present and accounted for. Our friend Chelsea had obtained the permits needed from the Navajo Nation to descend Lower Waterholes. A boat would arrive to pick us up at 4pm down at the beach on the Colorado River. All our clocks were synchronized, all our plans ready for the big rappel sequence. It was go time. As a side note, this canyon requires a permit from the Navajo Nation. More information can be found here: Waterholes Canyon (Lower) - ropewiki. Right on cue, a passerby pulled over and informed us there was a marathon happening that day, passing right through our parking spot, and that we couldn’t park there anyway. We had researched the parking situation, with [...]

By |2024-05-09T04:18:27+00:00March 9, 2024|arizona, canyoneer, grand canyon|0 Comments

Badger Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arizona

After five posts in a row about Death Valley, it’s time to move on to something completely different. Let’s talk about the Grand Canyon! There are a number of great technical canyons near Page, Arizona that we wanted to visit. The first canyon we explored was the North Fork of Badger Canyon with our niece Mira and our friends Mel Rader and Kieran Corrigan. It was wonderful of Mel and Kieran to take the day off and play with us. Badger is a short canyon that is easily accessible from US 89A in Marble Canyon, Arizona. From a pullout right by the highway, you can drop right into the canyon drainage. There are no permits required and beta is available here: Badger Canyon - ropewiki. To give you a brief overview, the north fork of Badger has four rappels and a short walk to the Colorado River. There are [...]

By |2024-05-09T04:18:47+00:00February 20, 2024|arizona, canyoneer, grand canyon|0 Comments

Grotto Canyon Layer Fork, Death Valley NP, California

The day after Styx, we thought we would up the ante a bit by making an attempt on Grotto Canyon (Layer Fork), located near Mosaic Canyon in the Stovepipe Wells area. We were waiting for our friends Chelsea and Vyonne at Stovepipe Wells Village when they pulled up with Tom Jones! Tom was at the Death Valley Rendezvous and decided to accept Chelsea’s invitation to join our group. I was secretly wondering if we all knew what we were getting into! Grotto Layer Fork is most definitely one of the best canyons we have been to in Death Valley so far (we have barely scratched the surface) but is a pretty high pay to play proposition. No permits are required, aside from park entry. Beta is found here: Grotto Canyon (South Fork, Death Valley) - ropewiki. The approach is a 3,400 foot climb up and up and up steep [...]

By |2024-04-27T00:25:02+00:00February 18, 2024|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Styx Canyon (North Fork), Death Valley NP, California

In mid-February, our niece Mira came to visit us for her “reading week”. The request was for warm weather and a lot of desert. We did our best to oblige, although the weather forecast was uncertain at best. Death Valley was an obvious choice that met both of the requirements, with some caveats. The weekend prior to our trip, a strong storm had come through from California refilling Lake Manly and closing many of the roads in the park, including the road to Dante’s View. In addition, that weekend was the Death Valley Canyoneering Rendezvous, which brought a crowd of canyoneers to the park. Our plan was to do Styx Canyon North Fork, one of the classic canyons starting at Dante’s View and descending 6,000 feet to Badwater Basin. This was a great opportunity to invite our Vegas friends to come play with us along with Rick Kent who [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:18:24+00:00February 17, 2024|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Thousand Pockets, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

If you’re craving solitude and a fascinating introduction to how water impacts the desert, Thousand Pockets right near Page, Arizona might be a great winter hike for you. Winter or early spring is a great time to visit this corner of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, particularly after rain or snow. Precipitation helps compact the very sandy roads and makes this drive a lot safer and more pleasant. It’s also best to visit when the water pockets are full to get the full experience of water in the desert. There is no permit required to visit this area. A four-wheel drive vehicle with good clearance is highly recommended to get to the trailhead as there are a couple areas with rock "steps" to drive over and much of the drive is in deep sand. The trailhead can be located by navigating to "Thousand Pockets, Arizona" on Google maps, but [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:24:20+00:00February 14, 2024|arizona, hike|0 Comments

Miracle Max Canyon, Death Valley NP, CA

It was Christmas Day 2023 and Max and I were in the middle of a three-day power outage in Death Valley, comfortable in a rented trailer that was running on propane. We had done Typhon 4 the day before and our quads were shot from the 6,000-foot elevation loss. The obvious plan would be to take it easy 😊. Cue the laugh track. Rick Kent had a first descent of a canyon that he wanted to do, with a steep 3,000-foot elevation gain approach, so Max and most of the rest of our crew thought that was a great plan for a rest day. I decided that was a bit too much for my legs to take, so I joined a small group to explore Miracle Max Canyon, one of the lesser-visited canyons of the Princess Bride range. The Princess Bride range is a real outlier in the Death [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:20:06+00:00December 25, 2023|california, canyoneer|0 Comments
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