Buck Canyon

Buck Canyon

Sunny skies and warmer temps have returned home. The start to the Spring 2016 catting season follows as well. we missed the red rocks and blue skies so it was decided that we would head back down to Robbers' Roost. 

Slot canyons can be tricky to find ideal temperature and weather conditions. Rain (really any form of precipitation) means a definite no-go for canyoneering. Cold temps could be harsh since you may find yourself in the shadows all day long. Anything too hot and dehydration and heatstroke could be a real concern (remember, it is the desert). 

We had pretty much ideal conditions for the trip down to Buck Canyon. A t-shirt and a hoody...

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Summertime Struggles

The heat might have us a bit beat.

Cats are well know for spending the day lounging in a window, sneaking off under a couch or simply passing the hours with a cat-nap.  Summertime doesn't change up this agenda too much; if anything it reinforces the schedule.

As much as I like Salt Lake for all the excellent outdoor recreation opportunities, summer can be difficult.  Daytime highs land close to 100 degrees and the cement jungle can feel oppressively hot.  The 2 nearest canyons to beat the heat (Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood) provide occasional shade and climbing opportunities, but because they are in the Salt Lake City watershed, domesticated pets are not allowed.  

We still try to get out.  Walks get shorter and water is very mandatory.  Location and time of day must work together in order to make sure that we have shade available.  It might be hard, but it is not impossible.

Spiral Jetty/Staying Local

Sometimes it is just nice to stay home.  As much as I love any weekend in the desert, occasionally a few calm days at home really hit the spot.  One great thing about Salt Lake is that there are amazing places to explore here in town.  

After some spring cleaning and furniture re-positioning (which made for a few new and exciting hiding places for Kenneth and Emmy) we decided to head out and check out the Spiral Jetty.  Located on the north side of the Great Salt Lake, the Spiral Jetty is an art project built in 1970  by Robert Smithson.  A 15' wide path of basalt rock extends from the shore and into the shallows of the lake.  It then spirals counter-clockwise in on itself - check it out here.  Depending on the current water level of the lake, the Spiral Jetty can either be fully submerged, completely dry, or just barley rising above the water.  On Saturday, it was totally dry and with our current snowpack, will likely stay that way for some time.

Salt Lake is a great place to call home.  With easy access to the mountains and the desert, there are a ton of opportunities for exciting activities.  From rock climbing to canyoneering to just plain checking out 1970's art installations that are visible from space (but really, what isn't visible from space these days?), there are a ton of options to explore and with a little extra planning, Kenneth and Ember can get out to enjoy the places that I love.

Now back to real life.  Hopefully I can make it to at least Tuesday afternoon before I start planning the trip next weekend...


Putting the "cat" in Alcatraz Canyon

Putting the "cat" in Alcatraz Canyon

1:30 AM and we are driving down a dusty desert road.  The music has been turned down to an imperceptible volume to help us accurately track our mileage.

 

24.5 and then turn right.  7.1 miles later, turn right again. Take a slight left 0.1. miles after that. Follow this road 6.6 miles and make another right. 0.5 miles later, stay left and 2.5 miles later keep an eye out for the canyon.

After we felt that we were sufficiently lost in Robber's Roost, the road emptied onto a wide patch of slickrock.  200' later, the road ended.  This was not a case of the road subtly coming to an end with a posted sign; the road ended with a 120' drop into the start of Alcatraz Canyon.  We set up camp nearby and rested up for our adventure the following day.

Click through to for more words and pictures...

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Kitty Hydration

Kitty Hydration

I know that staying hydrated is a crucial piece towards success in any athletic or outdoor adventures. Especially in the desert.  

If I know I have a long and potentially hot day in the desert, I do my best to drink fluids constantly.  I like to pre-hydrate the night before and in the morning at breakfast. No sense in starting off the day with a half tank.  The same idea applies to the cats. I can't easily convince Kenneth to drink another bowl of water because tomorrow will be a long day, but I can make sure that it is always available anytime he might want some. In the morning, I try to coach him to eat as much as possible and follow up his meal with as much water as he will drink. 

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Angel Slot, North Wash, UT

Angel Slot, North Wash, UT

 

It isn't hard to find new zones in Utah that I have never visited. I have lived in Utah over 8 years and typically get out camping or climbing more than 20 or 30 weekends each year. And yet, this is the second weekend in a row (last weekend was Moonshine Wash, just south of Green River) that I have gone somewhere that I have never visited.

Angel Slot is the first technical Canyon that Kenneth and Millie have completed. This meant that we had a few more down climbs and some rappels to descend.

(click through to read more)

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Moonshine Wash

Moonshine Wash

The internet is amazing.  There is so much information available online.  Right now, I am referring to the huge amount of canyoneering routes and beta that is floating around somewhere in the internet tubes.  you just have to know where to look.

We decided on Moonshine Wash for a few reasons.  It is not extremely long, which makes it a great option for the cats.  It also looked to be extremely photogenic.  Most of all, it was in a zone that I had never even looked at on a map.  We wanted to go just to help us fill in some of the gaps in our personal Utah travels.

Moonshine Wash lies 25 or so miles south of Green River, UT.

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Peek-a-boo and Spooky Canyons

Peek-a-boo and Spooky Canyons

 Instead of the typical '2 bald dudes and their 2 cats' we changed up the group dynamic.  A lot.

 

For this long weekend, I decided to bring both Kenneth and Ember and Steph came along too with her dog, Ice.  2 people and 2 cats and a dog made for some very tight and stressful sleeping arrangements in the back of the truck.  It worked out well though; it was super cold at night.

First we cruised down towards the Rochester Art Panel just north of Emery, UT.

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