Day 25, top of water pocket fold, 16?miles
I’m wrapping my sleeping bag and clothes in a trash compacter bag inside my pack liner in my pack in preparation for today’s wade in the Halls Narrows. (The pack liner might have a few weak points since it’s a bit older). My camera goes inside as well. I’ll just try to take pictures with my IPhone which I stash in a plastic bag. I’m ready!
After about a mile or so of walking we get to the mouth of the narrows. It’s pretty right from the start. I’ve got my neoprene socks on in my sandals and the water is cold but not too bad. The canyon walls are tall and I feel very small. The narrowest part has the deepest water for us to wade through which is slightly above the knee for me. I could have kept my camera bag on and taken better pictures. Oh well, if I’d done that I would have probably slipped and fallen in the water.
I’m surprised to see little fish swimming around and scattering when I come sloshing through. We’re not always in the water, there is plenty of dry slick rock to walk on as well along the edge. I haven’t spend much time in narrows before and love how pretty it is.
We have early lunch when we exit and I get some water, who knows how long the water will run for. Well, it turns out basically it runs the entire way until our exit but I end up dumping this water for the clearer water form Miller Creek a little ways further.
We’re mostly following cow paths and criss crossing the creek until we climb out of the canyon. It’s pretty but the paths aren’t as firm as yesterday and the sand and numerous ups and downs are wearing on me. I’m excited to be climbing out and up the Water Pocket Fold. We’ve been looking at it for days and it looks daunting and exciting. We soon find some cairns which makes the route finding much easier than anticipated.
It’s been slightly overcast all day and the weather forecast had predicted a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. That’s why we pushed a bit to get so close the narrows yesterday. I’d be worried if it were raining while I was in there. Steeply climbing slick rock in the rain is also not a good idea however so when the sky turns darker we keep a careful eye out.
At some point it seems like it’s going to hit us and we both find a tree to hunker down at. With all our rain gear on we’re ready for the worst. And then we realize we just caught a sprinkle and the storm missed us. It’s raining in the distance over Lake Powell and also in the valley we just came out of.
We count ourselves lucky and keep climbing. The views over distant lake Powell and the higher peaks beyond with the stormy sky are amazing! And the slick rock we’re climbing is so neat! I love it.
We help each other spotting cairns and are making good progress. I’m trying not to use my poles since they would scratch the rock and not give me much purchase anyways but now I don’t have my arms to help push me uphill. Buns of steel!!!
When we’re near our high point the sky turns dark again and we hear some thunder in the distance. Uh oh. I dig out my rain gear once more and we huddle under a tree again. This time the storm does hit us and hail pummels down. Our tree helps keep us somewhat dry but the wind is picking up as well and soon I’m getting pretty chilled. We sit tight until it truly looks as if we can safely continue. The thunder passed us in the distance, it stopped hailing and we see some blue sky so we try to finish our climb quickly and find a good spot to set up camp. Being in a drainage of slick rock is not a good place to be of weather hits again.
We find a larger area with crypto biotic soil and some trees and sand and pick a sweet spot with two trees and lots of pine duff. I set up my tent and think I’m good to go. That all changes when the wind picks up and gusts whip out some of my stakes. I should have put a little more effort in and put rocks on my stakes but didn’t anticipate this amount of wind force. At least my two main stakes stayed put so when I finally work up the energy to get outside and fix things the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down. I had attached a guy line on one side since one of the stakes didn’t seem to stay in from the beginning. Zack offers to help and gives me some snow anchors to use. We fill two of them up with rocks and I also dig through the duff until I hit some solid sand which actually seems to grab the stakes better. Then I add more rocks to the other stakes as well. My stakes actually hold now but adding the two snow anchors gives me the peace of mind to totally zonk out even with some noisy tent flapping.