Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 6, 2010

Professor Creek, to the waterfall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 3:32 pm
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First you stop at Matrimony Spring and fill both your water bottles with cool, fresh water.

Professor Creek, in the middle of its length. Open canyon.

It was to be 89 degrees; I wanted to be near water. Professor Creek, 18 miles up Highway 128 from Moab, flows from La Sal Mountain meltwater — and few people seem to  know about or hike it. Perfect. It’s a canyon that starts wide and becomes imperceptibly narrower as you ascend, until you’re drawn into a slot. With a 15-foot waterfall.

Explorations included a side canyon that had massive flash flood debris in it, and a rock-a-lanche slope (yes, I just invented that word) that would have let me climb all the way out of the deep canyon had I persevered another 25 feet. My footwear was sketchy, the rock very crumbly; as I imagined how long I’d likely lie there after a fall before being discovered, I made the better decision. Besides, I heard faint road sounds from above, and preferred the birdsong of the canyon bottom.

Garter snake disappearing

A deceased Ouzel; no sign of injury. Mystery.

Wildlife sightings: one garter snake, swallows, and cute Ouzels or Dippers. The only place I’ve ever seen these birds is in flowing mountain stream habitat; they have the entertaining ability to walk under water!

Can you see the waterfall?

Rejuvenation comes from four hours of solo hiking, with only one other party in the canyon with me. The burbles of the stream were my constant companion. Squawbush and single-leaf ash surrounded my shady lunch spot. The elusive waterfall 3 miles up-canyon? A sweet reward for persevering in the heat.

[Note to readers: Do not hike this when rain is falling anywhere nearby, due to flash flood potential.]

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