Day 6 was intense! Woke up early, but didn’t get on the road until 8:15 or so. Our guides were a bit disorganized and the dynamic was a bit stressful, but we did it.
On the drive to High Spur trailhead, we could see why it may have taken some time to pick us up on the canyon yesterday. 4WD was 100% necessary to get around up here, and is great for deterring tourists.
I was not sure about what to expect with this hike, but once we got into it, I was not comfortable. We were going to be climbing through a slot canyon, which is a path that thunderous walls of water have carved out over time. The canyon has steep drops, narrow paths, and twisting turns. All of the rock is the same slick rock, except for rocks that have been delivered by flash floods from above.
The first tricky part looked very steep, my knee has been bothering me on downhill parts, and the guides said we could easily go around, so I did. Ok, not so bad. Here’s what the first drop looked like:
The next drop down was not optional. I was freaked out. I thought I’d be ok, but was not trusting this rock as much as I had yesterday. With the help of the others, made it down this one successfully with only a little bit of cursing and screaming like a little girl. I was not feeling this hike, but once we made it down further into the canyon, the view was amazing. The light shone down in some places, others were shady, and the colors were amazing.
There were a bunch of non-optional technical parts, which I did not love, and plenty of optional stemming parts for the climbing types who I had decided to live vicariously through. I felt a bit wimpy trying to keep my feet on the floor, but in the end I’m glad I did, because even without climbing along walls, this was a hard hike (mentally and physically).
We stopped halfway for lunch (our guide said it was more than half, but the second half was hard too). We still had to get through some more technical parts, and we still had to get out (up). Looking back, I am so glad that I didn’t read any of the flash flood death stories.
The hike out was hard, and in my opinion, terrifying. We were scrambling up at steep angles on slick rock (still grippy, don’t let that name deceive you), loose sand, and krypto.
Side note about crypto: full name Crypto Biotic Soil. These are bacteria that combine over time and create this crispy looking layer on top of the sand. It provides nutrients and stability to the otherwise super loose sand. It’s a vital part of this area because it creates an environment for trees and plants to grow. It is very delicate, if you step on it, it disintegrates back into sand. Not great when people are trying to find a path to the top of a canyon, so we had to tiptoe through the crypto.
I was so nervous about falling back down this canyon, basically was hands and footing it up, and basically said fuck the crypto. My life is more important than a tree’s. Sue me in a billion years.
I’m amazed that I made it up out of that canyon. I really thought I was going to freak out enough that I was going to shut down and be terrified. Maybe that way I could get a helicopter lift out. Anyway, I did it, mostly because the group was super supportive. And so much thanks to Kiara who kept checking on me, let me go in front of her, and was ready to catch me. ❤️
I’m so glad that we did this hike when we did, 6 days in. It was so great that we already all knew and cared about each other, trusted and supported one another. We were down there a long time and it was awesome spending more one on one time with people (there’s only room for a single line of people, so you wind up talking with that person and helping them through tricky parts, plus snapping cool pics).
We finally got back to the cars, had a beer, and got on the road back to camp in Moab. We had about two hours of very rocky 4WD terrain in front of us, and 2 more hours after that, until we could get to the Moab brewery for a night of restaurant dinner and great brews.
Of course I hit a second wind, and they had a pool table, and then wound up talking around a fire until 1am, and had a 6am wake up time (for a shower finally!)