It has been an interesting past few weeks. First it was free national park week, followed by finals week at school, then followed by me moving home. But I want to focus on the free national park week again, and that it was finals.
As many of you may know, I just wrote about hiking Angels Landing, but the fact is that is not where the adventure ended that weekend. My school has a program called Pacesetters where they go out and go on hiking adventures, and for the final weekend of classes they went to a place called Yankee Doodle Canyon.
This canyon is located west of Leeds, right out side of red cliffs. I would give you directions, but I would fail miserably. It also does not help that the turn off for the trail looks like nothing more then a little indent in the road. There is no signage, but there is a little trail that is quite hidden.
Our adventure began the moment we hit the parking area. We stepped out of the car and heard an odd hissing sound, and one of the girls pointed out that it sounded like our tire was going flat. Sure enough it was and had split across the top. So before we did anything we changed a tire. Now that that adventure was out of the way we headed for the hike.
The canyon begins about 20 yards from the road. The total distance of the hike is about .5 miles and takes about 3 hours to do. Let me explain why.
Most of the slot canyons I have spoken of have all been relatively easy jonts with little climbing involved. This one on the other hand is an actual canyoneering type of adventure that requires repelling and lots of shimmying.
The trail begins with a 20 foot repel followed by a 70 foot repel which is about 40 feet down the trail from the first.
If you have not been repelling before, it can be quite intimidating, especially something like 70 feet. Well luckily for me I have gone repelling before and have had some experience with walking off a cliff. Bri on the other hand, had never done repelling before. But once things were explained to her she totally took repelling with ease and confidence.
After the first two repels, the trail is a narrow slot canyon with about six or seven dry falls that can be shimmied down. When you first arrive to them, they look like you need to repel down them, but you don’t actually need to. I will let pictures explain this part of the story.
One thing to take note before you go is the potential for water. Our guide said we got lucky and had almost no water. He has seen the area full of water before, so depending on when the last storm was, you may want to adjust your plans or wear wet suits.
Like I said the canyon is really quite short and is only .5 miles long. The reason it takes so long is that you can only go one at a time.
The way to get out of the canyon is a little inconspicuous. You pop out of the slot canyon into an open canyon. To the left there is a sandstone rock face and that is the trail out. There are little marks where people have worn away the rocks surface, but that is your only indicator. I suggest going there with a local tour guide group maybe something like Seldom Seen Adventures. Kieth Howells, one of their guides, headed up this trip and he was awesome.