Tom Winter writes a good general-interest canyoneering article to pique the interest of our Coloradan neighbors. Sort of nice that we chose an out-of-the-way canyon to base the article, though I’m not sure why he was so vague about the name/location. Not SURE this was Benson Creek, but that’s the only canyon I know of that matches his description out Brian Head way.
Into the Earth
Canyoneering the Colorado plateau
By Tom Winter, for Boulder Weekly
The hike started innocently enough: a well-trodden trail from a Utah campground near the small ski resort of Brianhead. Soon, though, we left the trail and started bushwhacking up a steep ridge. The terrain was rough. Loose rocks made progress difficult for those in front and dangerous for those behind, as the occasional boulder would bounce free and tumble towards the valley floor.
We crested the ridge and traversed along the steep face of yet another valley, dodging the fallen trunks of pine as the dry needles crackled beneath our feet. Below us, we could see the faint reflection of water, a thin band of wetness that coursed out of the Cedar Mountains, only a foot or so wide, and inches deep. We worked our way down to it, a hidden oasis in the dry climate. The stream led us down, over some red slickrock, remnants of the land’s geologic history. Then, suddenly, without warning, the stream vanished, into unseen depths, the gaping hole of a slot canyon hiding a netherworld of ferns and moss. From a precipice overlooking the waterfall, we could see the bottom, nearly 150 feet down, the first step in a series of steps we’d take as we left the surface of the planet behind and climbed into the depths.