‘Charlforsyth Canyon’, Utah
By Chris Holcomb
First, take a look at this one if you haven’t already: http://www.enterprisingnomads.com/storm/
I think that God must have felt bad for dishing out such terrible weather during that storm in the Little Rockies two weeks before, that He decided that He would make this next trip as perfect as the previous one was brutal.
I joined up with one of my favorite people, Nicole, whom I met in Antarctica, and two of my new favorite people, her friends Charlie and John, who flew out from back East. We had a perfect group, and laughed for days on end. After less than five days, you would have thought we had all been friends for years.
We spent three days backpacking into a very impressive and convoluted canyon system. John and Charlie had no idea what they were in for: “Where are we? So, wait… This is west of Denver, isn’t it?”. I think their minds were blown on an hourly basis or so, and they were instant Utah converts.
Aside from a half-mile of developed trail, we navigated entirely by map and old cattle trails through a beautiful maze of rock with almost no information about the area. We didn’t run into another soul.
At every possible step, the trip somehow managed to get progressively better and better. A perfect basecamp, next to clear cold springs. Nice petroglyphs. Historic inscriptions. An Anasazi ruin. Perfect sunny windless days. A great afternoon by Lake Powell. We spent seven hours one day working our way deep into a sea of domes and canyons from base camp, via a long series of improbable passes and ramps. About five different times, I thought we had hit the end of the road, but then I’d spot some new route that would take us exactly where we needed to go.
Everything was gratuitously perfect. After three days, we couldn’t think of anything else left that could happen that could make life any better. We half-expected a hot-air balloon in the shape of a unicorn to float to our camp and deposit a steaming hot tub with a five-course dinner.
In a finale of good luck during the hike out, Nicole found us a cowboy trail, starting from our camp, that routed us along a perfectly flat terrace, which allowed us to turn seven hours of boulder-hopping with a pack into a two hour scenic stroll back to the truck.
Before I drove back to St. George, to the end on as perfect a note as possible, I took the group to one of my favorite places, a well-hidden spot near the San Rafael Reef. We rappelled ninety feet through a skylight (Charlie and John’s first rappel) into one of the coolest natural rooms I know of, part-cavern, part slot canyon.
I’ll stop gushing now.