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kid's trip to the Swell, Middle Lep, and Munchkin

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Rex Welshon, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Rex Welshon

    Rex Welshon

    Better late than never, I guess.

    In 2010, I introduced my son Calvin (then 11) to canyoneering on a trip with his cousin Ethan (then 16), Ted Maynard, and Louis Cicotello (who died in No Man's a year later). We went through Ding and Dang, Music, Middle Lep, and Munchkin.

    First up: Ding and Dang. Louis hanging out in Dang:

    Calvin and Ethan near the bottom of Dang:


    Soul Rebel Calvin and Ethan figure they're desert rats now and try to dress the part:


    Next day, we went down Music. Kind of a lonely corner of the world, I thought.

    The first rappel in Music, off a hook. Some of us (that would be me) thought rappelling off a hook was crazy and declined to participate:


    Calvin drove us all back to camp in his new car:


    The weather changed while we were in Music from the sunny and warm to the cooler and cloudier. We camped near Behind the Reef Road that night. Before dinner, Calvin and Ethan learned how to jumar:


    Next day, we packed up, moved it on down the line to Middle Lep and a camp at Starr Springs. The weather continued to be unsettled. Not many pictures, but here's one of Ted and Louis in the middle of the canyon:


    As we were exiting, the skies opened and it rained. Calvin looking pleased:


    Fearing the rain might settle in, we booked and drove to Starr Springs. By the time we got there, the rain had stopped and the skies were starting to clear.

    We'd been having trouble with Mrs. Butterworth since breakfast that morning. Calvin and Ethan finally had enough of her tricks and decided she had to stand trial. Found guilty of being a witch, she was sentenced to the stake. Sorry, I didn't catch the really scary part when her evil spirit abandoned bodily form and dissipated in a shower of sparks:


    The gods appeased by Mrs. Butterworth's sacrifice, next morning dawned clear and calm.


    Time for another canyon! We chose Munchkin, out on the mesa towards Witches Cauldron, confident that our previous night's efforts would protect us from evil. We were wrong.

    Driving out to the trailhead:


    And early in Munchkin:


    Soon after this picture was taken, things went south. Calvin managed to get his foot stuck in the bottom of the narrowest part of the slot under an inch thick ledge protruding from the wall and running parallel with the canyon (kind of like the little ledges in High Spur only narrower and about three inches from the bottom). His right shoe wedged tight under that thing and he came to a complete stop, unable to move his foot forward, backward, sideways, up, or down. The rest of us were too big to reach down in the constricted space to even reach his shoe, much less untie the laces or cut the shoe off. Predictably, it started to rain. After about 20 minutes of ineffective grunting and pushing and Calvin getting a little concerned about a flash flood, Ethan took the rope and retreated back up canyon. He climbed to the top of the slot (maybe thirty or forty feet deep at this point) immediately above Calvin and tossed the rope down to Louis, who instructed Calvin to wind it around his body and tie it off. Ethan pulled hard on the rope and POP! -- he pulled Calvin right out of his shoe. Take that, Mrs. Butterworth! Freed from the trap, he was then able to retrieve the shoe.

    Calvin (2nd from left) after being liberated from the depths of Munchkin (Ted on the left, Louis on the right). Hero of the moment Ethan is in the middle:


    That was enough excitement for the day and we returned to camp at Starr Springs for a well-deserved dinner of fish tacos a la Louis. Pretty up-town: those are mango slices in the salad. But it's a beer-free trip 'cause we're responsible around the kids:

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    Sadly, we had to leave the following morning and return to the grind. Some of us (that would be Ethan) were having trouble getting motivated, and we eventually took the tent down with him in it. When he woke up, he was angrier than a bear getting bit on the nose. He's in there somewhere:


    Fun trip.

    Thanks for reading!

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  2. Blake Merrell

    Blake Merrell Lovin' Utah's Backcountry

    Spanish Fork, Ut
    Love this Trip Report! Especially loved the story of the sacrifice of Mrs buttersworth! ROFL!
  3. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

    Nice on getting that foot unstuck! Great memories, thanks for sharing.
  4. Pikan


    Nice Trip Report! Sounds like fun! :twothumbs: It's interesting, you don't realize the challenges that a particular canyon may produce! This reminded me of a trip back in December with Blake. He dropped his GoPro down a 15' deep 10" wide slot in the Fiery Furnace in Arches. Ended up using some improvised fishing skills to get it out! :wavespin:
    Blake Merrell likes this.
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