Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crack-in-the-Wall and Peek-a-Boo Canyon

Saturday morning, with a goal to leave by 8:00 a.m., we got up, had breakfast and got prepared to leave. Below, Tyler Puchalski and Rodney Nelson try to get rid of the excess sand in their tent.

Cole Carlson pulls down his tent and begins to pull the poles together.

Scott Zollinger eats breakfast.

And Seth Haws puts the finishing touches on his pack.
Robby, Brian and Paul Hartman got a headstart on us.
As we began our journey out of Coyote Gulch and began the difficult uphill climb in the sand, we got a bird's eye view of Coyote Gulch below camp.

And more and different views as we got higher.

After a long uphill struggle through the loose sand, we made it to Crack-in-the-Wall. Paul Hartman and Chase Renick tie rope to a pack so that it can be pulled up the side of the wall.

Brian Hartman used his bench-press muscles to hoist the packs up.

Paul, in the crack, shows how tight the fit is and why the packs must be raised using a rope.

Beyond the initial crack is an open space, followed by another crack, less narrow, that takes you up to the lip of the canyon.

The boys begin to pull their packs on to begin the last 2 1/2 miles back to the vehicles.

They head out, single file, over the sandstone, then eventually up the sand.

After getting back to the vehicles and driving the 7 miles down the Forty Mile Ridge Road to the Hole-in-the-Rock Road, we drove north, toward Escalante, until the Dry Fork sign which was the side road leading to Peek-a-Boo and Spooky slot canyons. Peek-a-Boo is about a half-mile hike down into the canyon and is an amazing fun-house of wild, twisting, walls, windows, slides and curves. The initial entry into the canyon, shown below, is a climb up a steep, tall, face, perhaps 18 feet tall.

Once initially in, there are a series of very challenging obstacles to get through, including smooth, slide-like features, rounded edges with giant inner holes, like giant tea-cups and other features resembling a marine corps obstacle course. Below, Brian Hartman, inside a "tea-cup," helps Pete Nelson up to the lip while Robby Hartman gave Pete an initial boost up.

Robby then gets an assist from Pete as he remains on a rounded ledge to avoid going into the hole below him.

We encountered an older couple from Colorado who only made it through the canyon due to the help of Chase Renick and Robby. Below, Chase pulls the man from above and Robby pushes him from beneath, while the man's wife looks on.

Paul Hartman and Pete are in the background, through several windows.

Below, Brian emerges from a cork-screw like twist of the rock.

Pete goes ahead through some more twists and turns. Paul Hartman, a very experienced desert traveler, got my attention when he said that Peek-a-Boo was the most amazing canyon he'd ever been in, or something to that effect.

By this time, many were ready to leave, but I insisted we do Spooky, since we'd come this far and were so close. The Colorado couple, who we found wandering around, looking for both slot canyons, followed us down to Spooky. The entrance to Spooky is below.

I didn't get many pictures inside Spooky and the ones I got were not very good. Spooky is not as colorful as Peek-a-Boo, nor does it have the crazy shapes. What is does have is very narrow walls and much less light.

Below, the man from Colorado threw some sand in the air so that I could catch the reflection on it from the sunlight filtering in.

I reached a point where I could not go any further (I've put on weight since I was there eight years ago). So I turned around and went back to the entrance. I thought the boys would have to back-track as well, but they found an exit at the end of the cave and made it back to the cars. I eventually talked to some other boys coming through the cave from the opposite direction who let me know what they'd done, and I made it back to the vehicles about 25 minutes after the rest of the group.

We drove back to Escalante, enjoyed lunch at Subway, then headed home. I collected a souvenier speeding ticket from a highway patrolman that is also the scoutmaster of a troop in Henrieville. At least he was pleasant and friendly.

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