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Spry Canyon - A Place where Friends Meet

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Kuenn, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Tom Scholz framed this year's pilgrimage pretty well:

    "It's been such a long time
    I think I should be goin', yeah
    And time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rollin'
    Sail on, on a distant highway
    I've got to keep on chasin' a dream, yeah
    I've gotta be on my way..."

    Prologue
    It had been a long time since I strapped on the 5.10 Canyoneers for Canyonering, 3 years to be exact - much too long. Come hell or high water this year I was determined to keep the date and get out west; as it turned out it pretty much involved both.

    Getting There
    The flight path this time to southern Utah was ideal. The last leg from Denver to St. George found my nose stuck in the window for most of it, flying over a lot of spectacular landscape.

    Name that geological feature.
    IMG_2241_opt1.

    Most of the 8 days there would be shared with my buddy Hank as at least one of the partners, and a few others. He was an excellent host. Thanks again, Hank.
    IMG_7876_opt1.

    Day 1 - The Business
    Trying to break in the legs and lungs subtly Hank proposed a leisure trip through Spry. In years past I had held permits for this canyon on multiple occasions only to watch them get superseded or canceled. This pic taken the day it was stricken from the schedule the last time.
    DSCN0662_opt1.

    The day dawned crisp and beautiful. Just Hank and I for this day. Leaving the parking area right out of the starting block there is much to see on the approach. Natural beauty everywhere and some rather spectacular man-made artistry that one could easily miss.
    IMG_2529_opt1.

    With an admiration for skilled craftsmanship the days are almost gone when conservation efforts are of such quality - work such as this often superseded for haste. Reminds me of an admired motto I once saw on a heavy machinery construction company's bill board, "We don't build Websites".

    The native welcoming party showed up to observe intruders from their superior vantage point.
    IMG_7870_opt1.

    October Canyoneering may have some drawbacks with short days and dry conditions, but it makes up for it in a natural arena of shimmering colors. WOW, being the most spontaneous word of the day.
    IMG_7879_opt1.

    The first and longest rappel of Spry was quickly reached. Hank performed some toggle magic with our 165' and 125' ropes, the obstacle was craftily descended. There was a pungent aroma at the sandy bottom of this drop. Earlier reports of a decaying bighorn sheep still filled the alcove, however the carcass remained a mystery.

    More rappels and a few down climbs.
    IMG_7882_opt1.

    An impressive variety of vertical challenges, each pretty much having its own signature. Some straight forward, another with a lean across, and one where I honestly thought my partner was hanging me out to dry.

    "Where's the anchor?", says I.
    "Oh, you don't need a rope here.", Hank replies.
    "O...K... Uh, we are still friends, right?"
    Hank, "Don't be such a baby, Q."

    It really was easier than it appeared at first survey.

    Lunch break, a few more stories and laughs, it was an excellent day one.
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    More variety and vertical fun.
    IMG_7907_opt.

    It wasn't long before the canyon was bending south and Pine Creek valley (of sorts) was coming into view.
    IMG_7912_opt1.

    Now we're standing atop the last rappel. No threat of flashing water today!
    IMG_7919_opt2.

    Spry quickly became a classic favorite for me. The perfect cure one needs from time-to-time when life turns gray with routine.

    The Ugly?
    What is it the Canyon Delphi says, "It's not an adventure until something goes wrong?"
    Nothing big, but you may have noticed the pics in this report are predominantly - me. (Your punishment). Brilliance here, left his camera back at the trail head in the passenger seat.... next to the keys for the exit rental-car. Doh!!

    Hank, being the more attractive of the duo, set out to try and hitch a ride back top. And it didn't take long before he had schmoozed up a ride. As for me, I loitered at the take out.

    Instant Karma
    Settling in for the relay wait a jeep pulls in with an "attractive" young couple aboard and starts up a conversation.

    "Where you been?"
    "Spry"
    "You need a lift?" (How about that, aim-shoot-score...must have been the legs.)
    "Well, yes and no...we did, but Hank Moon is about to secure that for us." (Hank now talking to another driver.)
    "Uh, are you Kuenn??" the driver of the Jeep asks - James aka Yellow Dart. (A southern drawl is a dead give away)
    "James?" (We had communicated several times over the past few years, this being the first time to meet up in person.)
    Chatting went on for several minutes after that.

    So that was pretty cool and a sweet end to the day's events... but that wasn't the last of it.

    The park being very busy there were several cars parked in the pullout, on both sides of the road. I had noticed a family on the other side of the road with hood up during all the meet-n-greet. So, about this time another attractive woman crosses the road and walks up to where Hank is.
    "Does anyone have some jumper cables we could borrow?" Hank, responds that maybe so, but not here.

    I'm standing to the side of this person about 10 feet away. There was something familiar in her profile and speech. She begins explaining her predicament and then, I think, I recognize her. "Janie?!?" Startled, she turns and looks at me, "Kuenn!"

    Janie lived less than a mile from my home in Alabama when I was a teenager back in the 70s. I knew her family very well. They later moved to St George around 1980. Now living in Kaysville with her family, they were taking a fall break in ZNP.

    Unbelievable! What are the odds? An amazing place y'all got out there!

    Epilogue
    I often ask myself what I like most about getting outdoors. Is it the beautiful places? The beautiful people? The adrenaline rush?
    Yes. Yes. And Yes.
    There are all kinds of perks for me to venture out west. Lived here for the first 4 1/2 years of my life... and the echos from the past still keep drawing me back.

    "There's a long road, I've gotta stay in time with
    I've got to keep on chasin' that dream, though I may never find it
    I'm always just behind it"
    Boston - Long Time
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  2. Ali Miller

    Ali Miller

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    I know everyone here already knows, but I'd like to collect a couple of likes by pointing out that the geological feature in the first photo is Upheaval Dome.

    Although geoscientists first suspected it to be a dramatic example of a salt dome, the presence of "shocked quartz" has proven it to be the site of a meteor impact. ;D
    Ram, Kuenn, ratagonia and 1 other person like this.
  3. Jenny

    Jenny

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    I'll be the first to say, "I LIKE you, Ali"!
    Also, I always thought it to be a salt dome. Never am I too old of a dog to learn new tricks. Thanks.
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  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I'll bite. New info to me, and pretty cool!!! Thanks.

    Tom
    Ali Miller and Ram like this.
  5. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Thanks for the enlightenment, Ali.

    I believe it was in 2008 that I first saw the U-Dome. It looks quite different, but impressive, from ground level and difficult to get a visual perspective. Hadn’t seen it since that day until the flyover last month, however it was unmistakable.
    Ali Miller and Ram like this.
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