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Canyoneering Dinosaur-Memorial Day weekend

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Scott Patterson, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Ali, Chad, and I met in Dinosaur National Monument over Memorial Day weekend to explore some new canyons I have had my eye on for a while, but that I hadn't got to yet. We saw no signs what so ever of previous visitors in either canyon, but there are very few people doing any canyons in Dinosaur.

    May 26: Snake Drop Canyon

    We did a canyon we named Snake Drop, though we didn't see any real snakes. It was named for a large petroglyph of a snake we found at the mouth of the canyon. This canyon was in the Navajo/Nugget/Glen Canyon Sandstone, depending on which cross section you are looking at. In Dinosaur National Monument all three seem to be used interchangeably.

    The approach was pretty long, but not that bad. The canyon was nice, but it was not a classic. The canyon would slot up and we kept thinking things would get really good, but then it would open up again before repeating the process. It was what I call a "teaser canyon" since it teases you into thinking that it's going to get really good and stay that way. At the end of the canyon, it dropped into a very deep and impressive slot with an impressive chamber. It was spectacular, but all too short as after the chamber, the canyon opened up again. The last rappel was about 165 feet. Ali and Chad went off a log wedged above the slot, but since it would move when I wiggled it, I chickened out and used a tree instead.

    The hike back seemed long and it was hot too. Overall, the canyon had some nice spots in it, but it isn't on my repeat list. It was still good enough to do once.

    After dinner, we drove to the Harpers Corner Trailhead and hiked to Harpers Corner. It was cloudy, so the sunset colors weren't present, but it was a nice hike.

    Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the canyon, but Ali got some.

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    May 26: Millers Creek

    This canyon turned out to be a real gem. This canyon cuts deep into the Weber Sandstone.

    There were 7-8 rappels in the canyon, lots of narrows, many potholes, and great scenery. This canyon was the highlight of the trip.

    The canyon was also a great surprise since the upper 1/3 or so of the canyon was an easy walk in a deep gorge, but there were no narrow or technical sections. It was still a pretty hike and there were fresh bear tracks in the canyon. Ali and I were talking about the canyon and thinking that it might turn out to be a dud as far as slots and technical sections go. Only one bend later, the canyon dropped into a nice narrows! This canyon did the opposite to us than Snake Drop because this time we kept thinking the canyon was going to open up shortly, but it kept going and going with lots of nice narrow sections and potholes that lasted all the way to the end.

    The canyon was much wetter than Snake drop and since it has been very dry lately, presumably the canyon is always or almost always wet. We didn't quite have to swim, but there were several chest deep pools. I was the shortest person on the trip at 6' tall though! Since it has been so dry, I would expect swimming in most conditions. We rescued a snake from one of the potholes. Since the canyon faces directly south and is pretty straight, it would be hot if dry since even the narrows can get sun.

    There were no major difficulties in the canyon, but there were many potholes and several rappels. There was also a fairly big log jam. We ghosted most of the drop (Ali is proficient with the Fiddle Stick).

    The canyon was a good one and the approach and exit were pretty easy as well! This canyon is definitely worth doing again and I assume that I will be doing it several more times since it isn't that far from home for me.

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    May 27: Ruple Point


    Originally, I had some possible canyons in mind, but all of us had long drives ahead so we decided to just hike a trail. We did the 9.5 mile round trip Ruple Point Trail. It's a scenic trail and the view from the end is one of the best around. It's as good any of the views in Zion National Park, for example. It was a great hike.

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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  2. Ali Miller

    Ali Miller

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    Great trip Scott, thanks for including me! About that first canyon: the most notable pics I got were of the petroglyph at the end. Here it is:

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    Above is the petroglyph, a rattlesnake! Anyone able to date this?

    We found it in a lovely chamber at the bottom of a 150 ft rappel.
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    Rapterman, Ram and John Styrnol like this.
  3. zul

    zul

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    Everything you see there is thanks to Martin Litton. He would be so proud.
    Jolly Green and Bootboy like this.
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