Day 3 of my exploring southern Utah the weather threw me a curve ball. So, instead of hiking up Mule Canyon, I headed west to the Lake Powell area and hit the North Wash slots.Walking up Leprechaun Canyon from the bottom I soon ran into where the canyon slots up. This shallow slot can be bypassed on the right, but it looked more fun to go through. It was tight — but I was able to get all the way through and wiggle up and out and into the open canyon once again.
(More pictures available in the Gallery.)After a nice Subway-like section, it got tight again and there was a large, unexpected pool. Determined to see the next section of the canyon, I jumped in an made it through the muddy water which nearly reached my waist. Soon after the pool I got to the junction where the East Canyon comes in. I took a moment and tried to climb up to the “Inscription Chamber”. Unfortunately my wet feet didn’t let me get all the way up the sandy slickrock and into the chamber, but I got a little peek into it from below.
Back down to the junction I headed up “Main Street”. WOW! This is the tightest/darkest “through slot” I have ever been in. After letting my eyes adjust, I had to turn sideways and shuffle through with my chest and back often touching both walls of the canyon. I’m 6’2″ and about 210lbs — anyone much larger probably could not have made it. I made it to the point it was necessary to chimney up to the exit above and there I turned around.
I made it back out to daylight and appreciated the great sense of openness in the main canyon. I did a quick climb up the north buttress to see the canyon from above. After that I headed back to the Jeep and moved one canyon north to Blarney Canyon. Blarney was a good canyon and not too difficult to walk up. There were a few tight spots and few boulders to climb just to keep it interesting. I made it all the way up this canyon to where people rappel in from above and then reversed course.
After a night camped near Trail Creek, I had planned to hit Maidenwater Slot in the morning. I hiked the lower portion of this canyon last year in my Escalante to Monticello hike, but I wanted to return to see the upper portion. Unfortunately I awoke to a dreary day with SNOW just above my location — so I decided it was not a good day to hit a slot with possible pools. Instead I headed toward Capitol Reef.
With the extra time I decided to hit the Pedestal Alley trail just north of Bullfrog. I’d passed this a few times and always wanted to check it out. The normal route ends up near the cliff with several great pedestal rocks. However, I kept going and explored the rest of the valley. I found several more great groups of spires and pedestals and even a nice little slot canyon. It was a good way to kill a few hours.