Canyon walls wind and ascend with every footstep. Look up, a glimmer of light seeps through the crack in the sky. Few eyes get the chance to scan these walls. A special aura flows through these small slots. Pink swirling dust floats by filling our souls and beckoning us to return again and again. If you have never hiked a slot canyon before then your hiking experience is not complete.
My most recent adventure took me down through the canyons of southern Utah. First on the list was Boltergiest canyon. It also provided a great playground to practice for the next canyon. Boltergiest is a short canyon in the southern Utah desert. From my research some people had said it was rather underwhelming. I disagree, and I will tell you why.
We navigated to Boltergiest canyon without much difficulty and began our decent. This canyon isn’t your stereotypical slot canyon with deep pink sandstone walls. Yet, it was still exciting and posed its own set of challenges. White sandstone, stagnate pools, and tricky rappels littered our journey. We hopped down boulders, scared frogs, and stemmed small pools till we reached the first rappel.
Canyoneering is a great experience involving problem solving and technical skills. It is a great time for anyone with the spirit of adventure. One of the rappels proved rather tricky. You must descend quickly or risk hitting your face on the lip of the overhanging rock. Morganne wasn’t sure of this rappel. She hooked into the rope and leaned back against the anchor. Nervously she lowered herself, quickly realizing how unsure she was about going over the edge. Lacking the confidence to jump and let line out, She timidly continued to release a few inches of rope at a time. From below her husband shouts “If you don’t go now you are going to flip!” Seconds later her feet slid out from under her and I just saw her bum hanging upside down swinging back and forth from under the cliff. Luckily she was not hurt. She descended the rest of the cliff with ease.
The final rappel in Boltergiest was a great 100 ft rappel descending into water canyon. It was a lot of fun and really good practice. Despite what a few people on the internet have said I definitely think Boltergiest canyon was worth the trip.
Saturday was the highlight of the trip. I awoke in my hammock in Zion National Park. The giant sandstone walls of the Canyon welcomed me. I picked up the permit for Pine Creek canyon from the Zion wilderness permit office and off we went. We rented dry suits from Zion Adventure Co, and we were very glad we did.
Pine Creek was one of the first canyons I researched when I began learning canyoneering. People love it because of how quickly it starts. Within minutes of leaving the trail head you pass a small pot hole and encounter the first rappel. A few descents later you are entering the belly of the beast. I lowered myself down the 65 feet of rope into a pool of water to deep stand in. I floated on my back in the water, staring up at the dim light illuminating the double sandstone arched cavern known as the cathedral. Centuries of water eating and scarring the sandstone create these small gems witnessed by few. It is one of the most picturesque sights in Zion National Park. We swam across the cathedral and entered the heart of the canyon where several swims through dark walls awaited us.
Eventually the canyon opened back up and we reached the last rappel. A daunting 100 feet into a beautiful pool known as the grotto. This area is stunning. The floor you stand on is nothing more than large boulders surrounded by smaller rocks and sand stuck in the crack Sometimes you look down and see the cracks in the floor leading to the water below. Half way down rope I stopped to gaze upon the incredible sight surrounding me. Giant boulders above, Towering sandstone walls to my sides, and a beautiful blue green pool of water below. The end of our adventure was navigating large boulders in the bottom of the canyon till we could get back to our car.
I will forever remember this trip to Zion. Guiding a canyon from my bucket list was such a great opportunity. I look forward to future trips and being able to explore some more of the great slots in Utah’s canyon country.