Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 16, 2013

Poison Spring Canyon: ‘Constrychnine’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:13 am
Tags: , , , , ,

When friends invite you to join them on a trip through slot canyons on a 9-mm rope, there is only one answer. Our resounding “Yes!” brought us to a remote area south of Hanksville, UT, where we set up camp in the desert, all alone but for lizards and ravens. The best adventures start with lizards and ravens.

Next morning at canyon’s edge, as we were gearing up for the first rappel, a loud long WHOOOOSH jerked our attention to the chasm. A pair of Peregrine Falcons was hunting for their next songbird meal, and one was in full stoop. The sound of that tucked-wing vertical dive (up to 200 mph) went to my core. This was a most auspicious start.

Hours of revelry ensued. Rappels of up to 190 feet, down-climbs through contorted squeezy slots, and obstacles like a huge pothole of water at the bottom of 120 feet of rope make Constrychnine a canyoneering delight.

Lest you think it is ALL fun and games, take note that every foot of descent must be re-gained in your exit from the canyon. When you’re tired. And it’s hot. And you are glad you did NOT know it was two hours and twenty minutes’ walk to get back to your camp and some cold drinks.

More pictures are coming, eventually, but with my molasses-like internet connection this is all I could upload for now. Enjoy!


P.S. Blog will be on hiatus for several weeks whilst I travel in the Canadian Rockies.



  1. Exciting to hear about the Peregrines. Do you think that canyoneering is a negative impact on them or maybe they are robust enough to handle it? I feel that some of the peregrine closures of certain climbing areas like Granite mountain in Prescott, AZ are a bit heavy-handed.

    Canadian Rockies!

    Comment by midsummerman — June 16, 2013 @ 8:46 am | Reply

  2. Peregrines are eminently adaptable creatures. Decades ago, the City of St. Paul, MN (Kathryn’s home town) installed nesting sites on remote ledges of tall buildings in the downtown area with the aim of of reducing the local pigeon population. It worked and they even have their own website:

    Comment by leroque — June 16, 2013 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  3. Can’t wait to see more pics of this AND of the Rockies! Be safe beautiful friends!

    Comment by Lorraine — June 17, 2013 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  4. “The best adventures start with lizards and ravens”

    …no truer words were ever spoken…

    Comment by rob streetman — July 6, 2013 @ 10:09 am | Reply

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