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Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch Slot Canyons

Southern Utah Wanderings 2010 | Day 2
Sunday, October 3, 2010

Before I get into our Sunday adventures, I wanted to bring up a strange incident that occurred in the middle of the night. At around 3am we started to hear a loud buzzing sound coming from far south on the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It was the kind of buzzing sound you would hear coming from an ambulance, fire truck or a police vehicle. We saw headlights in the distance that were slowly heading north. As this vehicle got closer we noticed that it was shining a spotlight to the side of the the road on occasion and it also set off a siren twice, but only for a second or two. We assumed it was a police/sheriff vehicle, but why was it constantly buzzing it’s siren? Was it looking for someone who was missing, or was it trying to warn us of an approaching storm that could wash out the Hole-in-the-Rock Road? This continued for over an hour until this vehicle was near our campsite. I was temped to drive out and find out what was going on, but I didn’t. Eventually it passed our campsite and went behind a ridge that finally blocked the sound from disturbing us, so we went back to bed. Of course, an hour later we were awoken again by the same vehicle coming back south! This time I was able to fall back asleep and am not sure how long the buzzing sounds continued….

After getting some more sleep we still managed to get up for an early start and headed down into the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch after some breakfast. Our destination this morning would be the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons. There were some storm clouds north of us towards Escalante and some way at the southern end of the Straight Cliffs, but the area above this drainage was still clear. On our way down into the canyon those clouds provided us with a couple of rainbows to photograph.

Double Rainbows & Balanced Rock

Nice bright rainbow when we reached the wash in the canyon

Next we made our way up some narrows in Dry Fork and reached the entrance to Peek-A-Boo.

Dry Fork narrows

Peek-A-Boo entrance

We got up the initial climb into Peek-A-Boo pretty easily, but that is where we then ran into the toughest section. We could not climb up the steep slickrock into the next pothole. After some unsuccessful tries (and scraping up my elbows and knees on the sandstone) I ended up having to take a running start at the wall using momentum and my long legs to get up to the next level. Luckily that worked for us or we might have had to turn around. I was then able to help Jared up.

Jared climbing up into Peek-A-Boo

After the previous difficult section we continued up the slot without too much difficulty. Of course we took our time taking plenty of photos as well.

Jared photographing the two arches near the beginning of the canyon

Small arch and twisted passage

Great colors

Tight squeeze

When we climbed out of the top we headed over to the next drainage and checked out Spooky. Spooky was not very difficult, but is was much narrower for longer stretches and carved deep into the sandstone. There was not as much light in Spooky, so photos were difficult in places.

Lighter section near the beginning of Spooky

Jared ahead of me

Darker and narrower

Jared squeezing through

Taking a short break

Curved walls

Near the top of Spooky

After poking around in Spooky a bit we headed back down Dry Fork to the mouth of Brimstone Gulch. We slogged through the sand of that canyon a little ways, but soon decided to turn around and head back to camp for some lunch instead of continuing up to the narrows.

Jared plays on a sand dune in Brimstone Gulch

After having some lunch and relaxing at camp for a bit we hopped in the Jeep and slowly started heading towards Sunset Arch for our sunset hike. On the way we stopped at the Batty Pass Caves and also took the side roads to Red Well and Fortymile Ridge.

Jared photographing one of the Batty Pass Caves

Inside one of the caves

After exploring the side roads we started our hike to Sunset Arch. On our way we stopped at Moonrise (Sunrise) Arch.

Moonrise Arch

Jared photographing Moonrise Arch with Sunset Arch on the horizon in the background

We arrived at Sunset Arch just in time for a nice sunset. We took a bunch of photos until the sun dipped behind the Straight Cliffs.

The typical Sunset Arch photo at sunset

Some different angles….

Jared climbed up on the arch

Closer view through the arch. Navajo Mountain and Fiftymile Mountain in the background

After the sun was down we hiked back to the Jeep and drove back to camp for the night. We were lucky and missed out on storms in the area this day!

Monday, to be continued…

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