New Tradition?

If you've followed the blog for the past year, you may remember this post: Milestones

A quick summary-

Over Keri's birthday last year, we met my parents in Utah close to Zion National Park. During that trip we did a couple of slot canyons, both technical and nontechnical. It was a blast, but not completely planned to coincide with a birthday.

Back to current times

For weeks we had been planning on spending a few days in Crested Butte over Keri's birthday weekend. Fall colors are typically at their prime and our favorite trails become radioactive tunnels, glowing gold. We had our camping spot picked out, the bikes ready, Rita was packed but the weather was unaccommodating. Below freezing temperatures with snow and rain was forecast each day we were to be visiting. Fall ran off with summer and winter was all too eager for the stage.

We collected gear from a different pile, slept in, and veered west. Moab was generally dry with modest fall temperatures and a had few canyon adventures that piqued our interest. For the second time in two years, without intent, canyoneering became our birthday activity.

No presents under there...
This year our friend Erica, who has spent countless miles running through the wide-open desert expanse, was eager for a new, more narrow-sighted experience.

What she lacked in expertise she made up with in attitude and holy shit wide eyes.

Though our chosen route lacked significant classical slots, it had no shortage of character: a dozen rappels, potholes of hanta stew, buddy assisted down climbs, hugging holly bush thickets, cross-country travel.

Dodging Desert Tea

Mixing hanta stew
Navigating the descent proved unique in the canyon world. Typically once the entrance is found, navigation is easy; one simply follows the water down hill with no escape until it spills into the open basin with obvious exit. Our route was atypical, requiring careful navigation from car to bar.

Easy navigation I
Easy navigation II
GPS proved invaluable while locating the canyon's head and during a traverse into a second drainage to avoid a dead-end. Then again, with the sun rapidly setting, GPS assisted in finding an escape down cliffs small enough that our rope ends could tickle the earth.

That final rappel landed us a lazy throw from the car. 

Long, challenging, desolate, questioning if worth doing again, but rewarding. With no headlamps required and minimal shivering the adventure compass never wavered from Type II Fun.

Happy Birthday

The birthday girl


  1. If you're not lost, you're not much of an explorer. ;)


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