Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 16, 2013

Poison Spring Canyon: ‘Constrychnine’

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


June 1, 2011

Granary Canyon — Canyoneering

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 12:05 pm
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Twelve photos of Granary Canyon can be accessed by one quick click. I had the privilege of accompanying the friendly folks from Desert Highlights on one of their canyoneering trips on Memorial Day, an unbeatably perfect late spring day. Enjoy the album!

April 6, 2010

In an unnamed slot canyon near Hanksville

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 11:22 pm
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Having exited the slot... walking downcanyon to climb out

Day off. Ed and I went south of Hanksville to a slot canyon which shall remain unnamed in order to protect it — oh, yes, that’s right, its name is, uhhh, MYSTERY CANYON. Yes. Olive conquered the miles of dirt-road access without a whimper.

Consternation. "HOW am I supposed to get over that edge and descend 100 ft?"

Finding the head of the canyon was difficult enough, but then we had to rappel down into it to start the day. The first rappel was 100 feet — that’s long — and then from the next edge… 175 feet. Folks, that is WAY more than I have ever rappelled, and let’s just call it 17 stories of trepidation.

I was always the first one down the rope, and after we threw it over the edge we could never see the bottom of the climbing rope to know if indeed it reached all the way down. Sometimes the wall is slanty, sometimes the canyon is sinuous, but we rely on information (“beta”) from those who have done it before in order to know our rope lengths. The first one down is admonished never to rappel off the end of the rope accidentally. That would be me. I heeded the admonition.

Ed climbed over; I crawled under. Two huge boulders chocked.

Having no way to bring you into a constricted slot canyon, and finding myself mute in the serpentine beauty of it all, I have nothing to offer but a few photos that clearly do NOT do it justice. It is impossible to express the depth and lack of sunlight penetration and organic scoured walls. I was in awe for the entire several hours we were inside. It was a profoundly satisfying day of exploration and discovery.

Bottom of slot, 3 pm. Ed coils the rope.

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