Buckskin Gulch

After we left the Grand Canyon we drove to Page, AZ to spend the night. We stayed in another La Quinta hotel and it was really nice! Momma is a bit weird about hotels and generally being around other people, so if even she was content then you know it was pretty nice!

We woke up to a surprise in the morning – snow!

We hadn’t really been paying too much attention to the weather, so we were all kind of surprised! Our plan for the day was to go into Buckskin Gulch, but we weren’t sure if we could get in or out with several inches of snow, so after breakfast we made a detour to a place momma has always wanted to see – Horseshoe bend.

Rumor has it Horseshoe bend used to be really cool, but it is a huge shit show of tourists now. Even on a day like this where it was puking snow the parking lot was already full by 9:30 a.m. so dad just dropped us off on the side of the road and went back to Page to wait until momma, Lolo and I went and saw the horseshoe in the river.

Because of the snowy conditions we were quite careful near the edge, especially since just a few days prior a little girl had ended up at the bottom (and died – it’s a very big fall). It wasn’t hard to see how or why people fall – there were plenty of people getting it for the GRAM that were sitting and hanging over the edge even though it was wet and slippery.

Loki, much like the day prior in the Grand Canyon, was very anxious about being near the edge. And to be honest, there wasn’t that much to see. The storm was almost BELOW us because it was snowing so heavily that the clouds only broke for just a minute or two, which is when we snapped these pictures. But that was pretty much good enough for momma, because the shit show of tourists and people was more than momma wanted to deal with and it was just enough for her to be able to say “we’ve been there and done that.”

As we left Page and headed towards Buckskin Gulch, which is up into Utah towards Kanab, the weather got a LOT better and in fact there was hardly any snow! So we decided we would see if the road into Buckskin Gulch was doable – and it was! In fact, there was a surprising amount of traffic headed into there.

In the parking lot we talked to lots of people who were there to take advantage of the government shutdown to get into a very restricted area called “The Wave” or Coyote Buttes North, which we have never been to, but momma applies for a permit in the lottery every single month. Only 20 permits are handed out each day – 10 are awarded in a lottery online and 10 are handed out after an in-person lottery at the ranger station. So basically, they are pretty hard to come by. It was kind of a bummer that so many people were breaking the rules just because the could – there is probably a very good reason they limit traffic to only 20 people a day! But, it did mean that hardly anyone was headed to see Buckskin Gulch.

Buckskin gulch is one of the longest slot canyons in the world, and believe me we cannot accurately capture it’s awesomeness in the photos. It was seriously so, SO cool.

We approached from the Wire Pass TH where we purchased a day-use permit. The approach from Wire Pass has a slot canyon you go through just to get to Buckskin Gulch. This slot canyon has a pretty big obstacle where we needed both momma and dad to get down (going in) and getting up (going out). Since this wasn’t our first time in a slot canyon, we were OK with getting hoisted up and down, but it made momma curse at herself for not bringing harnesses just to make it all a lot easier. After we got out (in the snow – more on that later) we discovered there is an up and around so you can get in and out without doing the crux section.

Once we were in Buckskin Gulch Lolo started getting really weird and wanted to be crazy and run and play. We weren’t sure what that was all about, but afterwards thought perhaps the narrowness of the canyon felt scary to him. We already know he is a very pressure-sensitive dog, and playing is a way for him to relieve stress.

We had several water crossings that were not very deep, so I was able to keep my foot that was not supposed to get wet – dry. But eventually we got to some water that was just too deep for me to keep my foot dry – and also momma and dad did not want to have soaking wet feet as it was not a very warm day in general. So this was where we decided to turn around.

After the turn around Lolo was being very crazy with the running and playing and slipped and fell into a fantastically muddy puddle. Can you see it in his fur??

His fur froze pretty quickly, but he never stops moving for the most part, so it just became a problem we would have to deal with later, because we had a hotel to stay in that night and couldn’t imagine bringing that muddy mess into the room!

When we got to the junction where we came in from the Wire Pass TH we decided to keep going up a section of Buckskin that we had “skipped” as it is considered less aesthetic than where we started.

Even though the canyon wasn’t as narrow, it was certainly still VERY beautiful!

The scent tracks in this section of the canyon were FAR more exciting for Lolo and I as well, and we had so much fun following trails and trying to sort out what animals had been down there. Momma could tell there was a herd of cows that had ranged through parts, but there are also lots of other things – like rabbits – that really get us going!

We walked quite a long ways up this way until it started snowing! The snow was beautiful, but momma didn’t want us to get stuck at the parking lot, or on the road getting out. The roads in this part of Utah advise they are impassible when wet, and lots of people vouch for those signs being pretty accurate!

Lolo found a (real) hoof – like the kind momma buys at the store for us!

The snowflakes were fat and fabulous, and made for really fun pictures and videos as we made our way out the slot canyon to get back to the parking lot!

It is actually quite amazing how quickly the weather in the desert can change! Here are some still shots of the day as it went from sunny to snowy, and below that is a clip of video of us heading towards the “crux” section on our way out.

Video

As was the case with our visit to Paria Canyon last winter, this visit left momma already looking to go back again. The desert is a pretty amazing place, but we just cannot express how fun it is to get to explore these types of canyons. They are simply AMAZING! Since we’ve been back momma has applied for permits for both April and May, and still not gotten any permits! Paws crossed we get one someday!

2 Comments

  1. You have some amazing photos! I marvel at the formation of the slot canyons—the way ROCKS are looking like sedimentary, but then tipped and twisted! I can’t imagine the time a magnitude of forces causing such events. Then the erosion causing the canyons as well…

    Sent from my iPad

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