Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Vacation Options

Ahhh yes, vacation!

Several opportunites appear.

1) Here a tentative itinerary:
Buckskin Gulch (http://www.utahtrails.com/Buckskin.html) is often described as one of the finest slot canyon hikes in the world and a photographer's paradise. Chesler Park (http://www.utahtrails.com/Chesler.html) is a meadow deep in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park with some spectacular spires and arches.

Wed., Oct. 3

Start at Wire Pass trailhead, UT (Map.)

Hike 12.5 mi (20.8 km)

Camp at Buckskin Gulch campsite, additional campsites 1.5 mi and 2.5 mi further (1 mi and 2 mi after confluence of Buckskin Gulch and Paria River)

Thu., Oct. 4

Hike 7.5 mi (12.5 km) to Whitehouse trailhead
Drive 300 mi, approx. 5h40m to Needes, Canyonlands National Park, UT (Map.). We must get here before 4:30 pm to pickup permit or wait the next day until 9:00 am when the visitor center opens

Camp at Squaw Flat Campground

Fri., Oct. 5

Hike 7.5 mi (12.5 km) to Chesler Park campsite (http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/upload/needles.pdf)
After setup of camp, day hike around Chesler Park 7 mi (11.5 km)

Sat., Oct. 6

Hike 1.5 mi (2.5 km) to Elephant Canyon
Leave packs, hike 4 mi (6.7 km) to Druid Arch (in and out)
Hike 6 mi (10 km) to Squaw Flat Campground via Squaw Canyon
End of official trip

2) August 14-18 Shawn's Birthday Puget Sound photo workshop.

3) Owens Valley Photo Workshop in October. It is planned as the Owens Valley / Kick Matt's (Blaize) butt out of California Workshop. Maybe someday I'll explain that, I'd be happy if he would finally stop teasing me about that waitress I fell in love with met in Zion ...

4) I want to go deer hunting.

Does anyone else wonder if the first trip seems kinda hard. Does the Buckskin Gulch part of the trip actually have a 30 foot rope assisted drop in it?

Trail: There is no trail for this hike, but the route is easy to follow. You will be walking along the bottoms of two narrow desert canyons. Occasionally there are deep pools of water in the canyon narrows, so be prepared with an air mattress or some other means of floating your backpacks across. You will also need a 30-foot length of rope to help you get down a rockfall near the end of Buckskin Gulch.

I know my friend is aware of this. It means dry bags and perhaps climbing gear, and extra water. Although I have the gear (harness and rope and whatnot), I need training. plus what -- you have to get out of the canyon and it's 12 miles long. At a very aggressive pace it's at least 4 hours in a slot canyon in October.

I've already committed -- God forbid anyone of my friends should have any real excitement without me. I will go -- they are getting permits on my behalf as we speak. I am sharpening my nerves and my crazy mad skillz. Perhaps the elder brother will teach me a bit more about the ropes.

So that's a 5k route plucked off the map right near my home. Before breakfast tomorrow. 3 times a week. till I can do more. I need to be able to keep the pace with the happy hiking guy. There will be risks. If it's tough going we need to beat a mile and one half per hour pace. I'll need a few extra pounds and the ability to pull myself up. I'll have a minimum of food -- but should try to get an ultralight sleeping bag. I'll want to wear lighter shoes -- so I need to work out in those.

So -- weight training and some climbing practice , and run on my shoes.
The top picture was appropriated from some one who has actually been there.


Eclectchick said...

Those are some mighty full October days! But full in a good way. Sounds great. Note to self: must get to UT sometime.

shawnkielty said...

Well -- the Happy Hiking Guy and I haven't exactly discussed this calendar yet. I think Buckskin Gulch dictates a single day because there's no overnight camping in the canyon.

Being very fit and traveling light will be the keys for that day.

Alberto said...

I don't know, man. Too many fabulous options for me to even consider! I am so jealous. Wow.

Jill said...

I have hiked Buckskin Gulch. I'm a wimp when it comes to scrambling descents, and I made it through just fine with no rope. We camped at the Paria confluence, which is about 7 or 8 miles from the trailhead if I remember correctly. A short day, really. One thing I would worry about in October is temperature. The pools in Buckskin canyon can be chest deep, sometimes a half mile long, and your body temperature can drop really quickly in those conditions. I learned the hard way in early May.