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Thread: Grand Gulch TR

  1. #1

    Grand Gulch TR

    Back at the start of October I did a trip into the middle of Grand Gulch for a couple of days.

    Started the trip with high hopes of seeing a section of the canyon I haven't had a chance to get into. The plan was to drop into deer creek and come out at Water canyon (if I could find an exit there) (still don't know if there is one).

    The first day was windy and cool. Then around mid-day it started to rain. not hard, but steady. The canyon walls were starting to drip and waterfalls were beginning to make their appearance. About 5 in the afternoon the skies started to clear and nothing but blue sky overhead when i set up camp. I figured "hey it's the desert. Won't need my tarp tonight, storms passed. right?" So I tossed my bag out on this nice open flat above the creek.

    Well, guess again! Sometime around midnight I wake up to what I thought were the sounds of rockfall in the canyons. Lots of rockfall. hmmmm..... The next thing I know it's bucketing down hard with rain. I jump up and barely have time to throw my tarp over the top of me between flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder that were 2 seconds apart. Little close, me thinks. Its a good thing my tarp is one of the silicone impregnated type or I would have been hosed. So, I'm laying there for about 15 or 20 minutes with this huge light show going on overhead. When it just stops.

    I peel the tarp back and get out of my bag and pack up as fast as I can. Then head up to the base of the cliff where there is a great overhang. Should have just camped there in the first place. Except there are archeaological sites all along this particular overhang. Now I know it's against the rules to camp near archeaological sites, but thems da breaks. I didn't want to take the chance of another downpour.

    The morning dawns clear and beautiful. Now, I'm camped out of sight of the creek, but the noise is deafening. I break camp and go down to get a look at the creek and it's in FLOOD!!! Isn't this just great. What was a trickle yesterday is now a red torrent knee to thigh deep. Obviously no way to keep my feet dry today. Trudge on back and forth across the creek. If any of you have ever been down Grand Gulch you know that you cross the creek on just about every meander. Did I say how much I hate having wet feet. Too much of a pain to take the boots off and put them back on every meander so in I go, over and over.

    I finally get to where Collins canyon comes in. I could have made an escape here, but that would have put me on the wrong side of the canyon and about 50 miles from my vehicle. I guess I head down to the narrows. Fortunately I don't have to wade through the narrows (it looked deep and fast). There is a trail that bypasses it and goes around a rincon (even if it had'nt flooded I would have done the bypass) that has several nice pictograph panels.

    Down stream from the narrows I find a canyon heading out to the east. I think theres a route out. So, I take the chance. Pick a faint track up the canyon and piece together a route through the ledges and find myself on the rim and only 1 1/2 miles from my 4 runner. What Luck.

    Next time i go back I can use my exit route to drop in and then I'll have a go at seeing if there is a way out of Water canyon.
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    But if I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.

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  3. #2
    Sorry the weather didn't cooperate, but thanks for the great photos.
    Stan

    Check out my photo gallery at www.pbase.com/sparker1

  4. #3
    Bogley BigShot
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    Very Cool!

  5. #4

    Re: Grand Gulch TR

    Quote Originally Posted by denaliguide
    Started the trip with high hopes of seeing a section of the canyon I haven't had a chance to get into.
    the lower section of GG is wonderful. hope you get back there soon.

    The next thing I know it's bucketing down hard with rain.
    :
    I peel the tarp back and get out of my bag and pack up as fast as I can. Then head up to the base of the cliff where there is a great overhang. Should have just camped there in the first place. Except there are archeaological sites all along this particular overhang.
    you should have camped THERE? um, do you mean another overhang without ruins? as much as i am enjoying reading your trip report, a comment like this makes me cringe bigtime. it's not appropriate to even suggest that's it's a good thing to camp in an overhang with ruins.

    you're a seasoned backpacker. i suppose you have an aversion to carrying a tent. i can appreciate that well (though i carry a small one when i am concerned it might rain). bivy sacks are light and work well too. i guess the first thing that's coming to my mind, is if i knew it rained earlier and if there were a chance i would seek shelter in an overhang or something, i would make sure that i was near one that didn't have ruins.
    [disclaimer: beware of falling rock when camping in overhangs]

    Now I know it's against the rules to camp near archeaological sites, but thems da breaks. I didn't want to take the chance of another downpour.
    sorry to harp on you about this, but while camping in ruins is taboo anywhere on the plateau, it couldn't be any more so true than in grand gulch.


    The morning dawns clear and beautiful. Now, I'm camped out of sight of the creek, but the noise is deafening. I break camp and go down to get a look at the creek and it's in FLOOD!!! Isn't this just great. What was a trickle yesterday is now a red torrent knee to thigh deep. Obviously no way to keep my feet dry today. Trudge on back and forth across the creek. If any of you have ever been down Grand Gulch you know that you cross the creek on just about every meander. Did I say how much I hate having wet feet. Too much of a pain to take the boots off and put them back on every meander so in I go, over and over.
    pretty wild, eh? gotta love nature and its drama. any photos?

    somewhat frequently wading in creeks in southern utah is part of the reason i gave up hiking with boots in southern utah (though there are a few other reasons). i find shoes that drain water well (e.g., exum ridge) to be ideal for dealing with this kinda situation.

    Next time i go back I can use my exit route to drop in and then I'll have a go at seeing if there is a way out of Water canyon.
    happy exploring. water canyon is pretty. but then again, pretty much every side canyon of grand gulch is pretty. what a system.

  6. #5
    I soloed Collins to the San Juan and back this spring. Wow. This was the last part of this canyon system I hadn't been in. I took 5 days because of side canyon exploring and photos. It had recently rained so water was everywhere. To me, the section below Redman Canyon to Wrather Arch is the prettiest section of that canyon I have hiked. There is quite a bit of archeo if you take your time, just not "in your face" stuff. Well worth the trek
    You can rest when you're dead

  7. #6
    here's a bit of the water that was running.

    my first trip to grand gulch was in 1975. the lower part of grand gulch and johns canyon are the only canyons on cedar mesa between kane gulch and the moki dugway that i haven't been into in the past 32 years. I've been down fish & owl, mcloyd, road, lime, point lookout, slickhorn, and now from kane gulch to just below collins.

    so, stefan you could say i am very seasoned. now climb off the soapbox.

    But if I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by denaliguide
    here's a bit of the water that was running.
    wow, great video, many thanks. quite a bit of water!

    my first trip to grand gulch was in 1975 ... so, stefan you could say i am very seasoned.
    i did say you're a seasoned backpacker, and i know you have spent a bit of time in southern utah [you've mentioned this in the past on this site, but thanks again for the resum

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by stefan
    but that doesn't change the fact that we'd like to promote the appropriate conduct and behavior around ruins.
    never said there were ruins under the overhang. just that there was an archeaological site. this overhang is probably 200 yards long and has a couple of small panels quite sppread out along it. no harm was done to any of the panels by throwing my bag down on the ground.
    But if I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.

  10. #9
    Great pics and report. Loved the flood video. It's hard to appreciate how much water that is unless you have seen what things are like normally in the Gulch.

    I always love to see TR's from people enjoying what I consider to be my backyard.
    The gostak distims the doshes.

  11. #10
    I don't know about anyone else, but I mostly tune in here for the frequent supercilious lectures presented by the extremists. It just makes my day when they tell the rest of us how to live and behave.
    Stan

    Check out my photo gallery at www.pbase.com/sparker1

  12. #11
    ooo, sarcasm, i like it ... zing

    and i just thought people read uutah for the photos ... er, stories

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