I had never heard of a Slot Canyon before and I had no idea what I was in for. A quick stop at the visitor center in Escalante and the guide was telling us about a great hike that we would really enjoy. It seemed like it would be really interesting by her description. She warned us sternly however, that dogs were not allowed as they could not maneuver the canyons, so, they took a nice afternoon nap while John & I headed out.
We drove down to the trailhead and we both kept saying–this doesn’t seem right. The landscape was flat with mostly the usual desert plants and terrain.
We arrived at the trail head and started out on the trail and about 1/4 mile in, we reached the canyon’s edge and began a quick decent to the bottom. It was slickrock so we easily manuevered down the steep hill. We arrived at the bottom of Coyote Gulch and followed the map to the first slot which was called the Dry Fork slot.
As we were walking along 4–A10 jets flew over our heads at very close range. We both looked at each other with slight concern wondering if we missed something since we didn’t have the news on for several days.
We continued down the wash and started into the first slot which was called Dry Gulch. The red sandstone walls towered 100ft above us on both sides and we walked along looking at where the water comes rushing in when the flash floods hit & it was about waist deep. The canyon was 8ft wide and it was an easy hike. I thought to myself, hmm, this is no big deal. You really shouldn’t think that way 🙂
We walked about a mile in and then decided to head over to the other 2 slots and see what those were like. In the distance we heard a group of men talking and we caught up to them at Peekaboo Slot. We were really glad that we met up with these guys as they were extremely valuable with their knowledge of the slots. In addition, the father, had lived his whole life in the area so we asked about the jets that flew over. He explained that the Air Force base over in Vegas sends the jets to the area to practice flying under the radar since apparently we were standing in the least populated place in the lower 48. That put our mind at ease!
Back to the Peekaboo slot and we were attempting to climb up the shelf that leads into the slot. The guys assisted us and explained how we had to stretch, where to put our feet up the side wall and how to get in.
Once inside, you find yourself winding your body through these narrow walls with only about 1 1/2 to 3 feet to walk through. The walls jutted in and you find yourself squeezing and manuevering your way through the slot.
At one point you climb through a hole up to the next level of the slot which is where the name Peekaboo comes from.
A few more turns and you’re out at the top of canyon. At this point, you can choose to make your way back down through the slot or hike above the canyon and come out down below. We chose to hike our way out across the beach like desert sand down to the next canyon.
This slot is where I remembered myself saying—this doesn’t look to hard while going through the first slot. This canyon was so narrow that you literally had to squeeze your body through the walls. Pretty much the entire way, you moved sideways which made it really claustraphobic feeling. You kept your hands above you on the walls as you inched through. We again met up with the group of guys that we met earlier and the father told me that there was no way I would make it very far. He was nicely trying to tell me that some things on a woman just can’t be sucked in 🙂 About a quarter of the way through and I learned exactly what he meant. John was able to make it farhter than I did but the complete canyon is too narrow for anyone to make it all of the way through. It was dark and slightly damp inside with the feeling that bats could be hanging out just about anywhere!
This slot held up to it’s name—Spooky Slot!
We headed back to the trailhead and enjoyed talking with the group of guys that we had met and we learned a great deal about the area which was fascinating. The last hurdle was the steep climb out. We had a great adventure hiking through the slots and we were so glad that we did it.