Canyoneering near Hanksville, Utah: Monkey Business and East Leprechaun Canyons
I seriously had been waiting for this club event all year long. I'm not sure why it stood out to me so much, but I was so stoked to go canyoneering and see what it was all about. I think it appealed to me so much because I had no idea what it was really... if that makes sense. The allure of the unknown. Also, I've heard good things.
The weekend finally came in mid September, and I got to drive up to Utah with Michael to embark on this new adventure.
We took our time on our drive up to Utah, leaving Thursday night and traveling into Friday towards Hanksville, Utah.
The photographer in his natural habitat.
About an hour or two away from Hanksville we couldn't contain our excitement of being in Utah and had to pull over to do a bit of exploring off the road a bit.
Nothing major... just a bit of scrambling and taking in the views, fresh air, and beautiful sandstone. Photo below by the talented Michael Auffant.
Selfies with the fancy camera are a bit more challenging. Photo below by Michael Auffant.
I found a rock lizard who wanted a kiss.
In Hanksville, we saw this gas station built inside this mountain!
We set up camp, drank some beers, ate dinner, and fell asleep under the stars to get ready for Saturday's canyoneering.
Then the next morning came, and it was time to nerd up for the event. I still had stitches above my eyebrow from the bike crash... hence the bandaid.
The first Canyon we were going to do was called Monkey Business. It was a short drive and short hike to the entrance of the canyon.
- I took absolutely way too many photos to post in this blog, so I tried to pick some of my favorites. Essentially, the canyoneering was a bunch of sliding down rocks, squeezing between rocks, jumping into water, stemming between rocks, crawling under rocks, rappelling over rocks... in other words, freaking fantastic fun.
And the scenery was unbeatable.
This little guy was sitting lethargically in the shadows... We pretended to eat him... butttttt put him in the sun afterwards to let him get on with his own canyoneering.
We had to squeeze through some really, really tight slots.
And learned about meat belays... basically, belaying off a human body.
We jumped and slid into some very cold, water-filled holes..
And "zip-lined" across some just for funzies.
Ending in a big rapel to the end of the canyon.
What goes down into the canyon, must also come up out of the canyon.
There was a class 4 scramble out of the canyon that was pretty steep. Michael nearly scared me to death when a rock he was holding onto blew off. Fortunately, he has great reaction instincts and was fine... must be all that mountain biking.
When we got back to the top of the canyon, some people called it a day, but we went onto the next canyon for more fun.
The next canyon we did was East Leprechaun. More slotty fun and a lot more water.
Scene from 127 hours?
It's hard to notice in all of these photos, but our pants got torn to shreds! I was initially wearing tights... but then there was a giant hole in the butt crack after the 1st canyon, and so i put some shorts on top of the pants... which also got a hole in the butt crack. haha.
This canyon had some really cool sandstone features in it.
We did more rappels.
Mud war paint to go with my partial black eye and stiches.
At the very end of East Leprechaun there was a bunch of water... a bunch! At first you could stand up walking, but then you were straight up swimming... and good lord, it was cold, and a bat nearly ate my face, but mostly it was freezing.
I survived though.
Oh and I got to wear my new guide tennis on the trip and they were fucking amazing! They literally stuck to everything. I'm not sure why I've been going so long without approach shoes, but I love them.
From the end of the canyon it was a short hike back to the camp ground.
We celebrated and relaxed that evening with beers and wine and enjoyed our last night in Utah.
I really wanted to go find some Moqui Marbles, which are supposed to be in Escalante, Utah... so we ended up going on a big detour on our drive back home. It was really cool though because we got to see a whole new beautiful part of Utah.
And some leaves were already changing for fall.
When we finally got to where we suspected we could find the Moqui Marbles, we found that they were not as easy to find. It took some searching amongst the sand and iron before we started spotting them. Photo below by Michael Auffant.
We found someeeee... detour officially worth it! :) Also, I lost my flip flops... so Michael was kind enough to share one of his with me. What a guy. :) Photo below by Michael Auffant.
Utah continues to amaze me. I love the heck out of Utah, and I'm so excited to do more canyoneering... I've got my eyes on the seven teacups in Kern Canyon!