February 27-28February 27: Culvert Canyon/Corona and Bowtie Arches/Delicate Arch (Utah)
The original plan was to climb Mount Antero a Colorado 14er, but since the committed people said they would rather wait for better weather Justin Kuhn and I headed for Moab for Friday and Saturday. We had a class in Grand Junction on Thursday anyway and Moab is only 1.5 hours from there.
First on the agenda was Culvert Canyon. We part at the trailhead and quickly made our way up canyon on the east bench before dropping into the canyon. We hiked down the canyon in warm weather but found that most of the potholes in the shaded sections of the canyon were frozen over. Most of the canyon is fairly wide and open, but it does have one slot section. The slot was pretty neat since it had water flowing over the slickrock into a crystal clear pool of water. The only down side was that we had to wade across the water to get down the canyon. We waded across the ice cold pool of water (belly deep) to a nice rappel into a grotto. The rest of the canyon just had minor scrambling.
Next we decided to make the easy hike up to Corona and Bowtie Arches. The arches were impressive, as always.
After doing the easy hike to Corona and Bowtie it was decided that there was still time to drive over to Arches National Park and hike to Delicate Arch in time to see the sunset. We drove to the National Park and quickly hiked up to the arch. Since we still had time available before sunset we climbed some of the bumps and ledges in the slickrock around Delicate Arch and visited two other arches as well. Justin dropped his camera down a 75 foot cliff while climbing up to one of the arches. We watched it bounce down the cliff and watched the battery fly out while the camera continued to bounce down the cliff before landing in the bottom of a sandy wash. I was able to climb down to the camera using a series of ledges and amazingly I found that after putting the battery back in the camera it still worked.
We returned to Delicate Arch and watch the sunset paint the rocks the rocks pink and paint a lighter pink on the La Sal Mountains before returning to the vehicle. We were able to get several photos before the camera died for good.
February 28: Dragonfly Canyon/Eye of the Whale/Tower Arch (Utah)
We hung around Moab until 9 am in order to get a new camera (the other camera was dropped off the cliff-see February 27 entry) and headed back into Arches National Park for an attempt of Dragonfly Canyon. My foot was really hurting, but I don’t remember injuring it the day before. I had to walk with a limp all day.
We drop to a point due east of the canyon before heading east to a viewpoint and looking into the canyon. It looked like a neat place and we dropped our packs off at the Petrified Dunes pull-off and returned to Courthouse Wash where we parked the vehicle and walked the road back to the packs. We started down Dragonfly Canyon and climbed down three neat little pitches. We got to the swimming section and stopped for a while. Dragonfly is an easy canyon, but the ice cold pools didn’t look that inviting to swim in the morning and the drop into the pool of water looked difficult to reverse if we changed our mind. My foot was still hurting and Justin hadn’t done many technical canyons so we decided to wait for another day. We thought that maybe we should just do some easy hikes instead.
We returned up canyon and up the three little pitches and sat down for a snack. We followed the canyon rim (while enjoying the views along the way) for almost a mile before cutting back to the highway. It turned out to be a good choice since my foot was hurting more as we walked back.
We decided to do the Eye of the Whale Jeep trail and I could show Justin some of the sites there. We drove the 4x4 road and did the short hikes along the way to Eye of the Whale Arch and then farther along to Tower Arch before heading for home.