Once I made the decision to go with Gary to Muley's Twist I swung into action. I quickly reorganized my gear to switch over to backpacking mode. We had to drive about 45 miles on backcountry roads to get there, I am taking the poor minivan where no minivan should ever go. Minivan seems to be enjoying it. We stayed Thursday night at the free campground off of the BLM road called Cedar Mesa, when we got there all the sites were taken but some really nice people from Idaho let us share their site.
We got going early, I learned all about Gary and how he is very very meticulous. We continued on our way to the trailhead and didn't arrive until about 11AM. The ride up to the trailhead in the car was a real white knuckler, see the pic on the slide show of the switchback road. Things were going fine until we saw some people at the trailhead and decided to ask them about the trail. These guys were real hiking pros from Wyoming and they gave us some tips about the slot canyons. We had no plans to go into the slot canyons but the conversation went like this:
Nice lady at the trailhead: "The slot canyons are very interesting and worth a look. They aren't difficult but you might have to do some chimneying and bridging to get into them."
Cham: "Sure, no problem, we can handle a little chimney and bridge."
What Cham was really thinking: "What the fuck is this lady talking about?"
After this, Gary and I were on a mission to get to slot canyon #3, who according the the Wyoming people was the best. We packed it in about 5 miles and Gary insisted we find a campsite near water which proved to be a wise idea. I learned that when you hike in the southwest the most important aspect of your hike was where was the water, if there was water. There were no gurgling mountain springs here like back east. Every drop is precious. We got our water out of a little puddle and we had to pump it, see picture on slideshow.
Then we hiked a few more miles and thanks to my GPS we were able to find slot canyon #3. We learned quickly that the when the Wyoming couple said #3 was the best they meant the most difficult. But the fact that Gary and I had no slot canyon experience whatsoever did not stop us. We had our kayaking shoes, what more did we need?
It turned out we had to climb and steep hill, then wade through some slot canyon puddles up to our thighs and then shimmy up a slick rock slot canyon. I can very well understand how you can get your arm stuck in one of these things. I am also very glad for all the weight lifting that I do because upper body strength is key, as well as the ability to turn and manipulate yourself in a very tight space. Since I am small I needed Gary's help to get up, but somehow we managed to get into the slot canyon with the camera so I was able to document the whole thing to prove I was there. I was thrilled about our success.
Exhausted we hiked quietly back to camp and had the most magnificent site ever. Muley's Twist is like being in Zion National Park but having the entire park to yourself. I now know what bridging and chimneying is and vow to do some more slot canyoning, its wild. Love it. Gary let me hang at his hotel pool after we got done.
We got back to the car on Saturday morning and now I am getting ready to move on to Arches. I have no bars on my cell phone so bear with me. Email if you wish.