Yesterday we woke up outside Hite, Utah beside a gorgeous canyon where the Colorado flows. After packing up we decided to fit in a day of canyoneering before we went to Moab.
Eli found us a quick hour-long excursion in Fry Canyon called Fry-Lette. It all started quite well as we jumped down into the stunning curves and radiant colors of the slot canyon. Although we were expecting a swim, as the website called for summer wetsuits (I had a tee-shirt on…same thing?), we mostly hiked on mud, and I slipped a few times in my Crocs, resulting in me carrying a couple extra pounds of mud in my shoes. But luckily, the most Fry-Lette asked of us was a quick twenty feet wade through hip-deep, fifty degree water.
Due to the lack of swimming we finished well short of an hour, and decided to do the whole Fry Canyon experience– rap and all. Eli and Madi ran back to the car for a rope and harnesses while Zach ordered me to lift rocks. Right when they got back he spotted a scorpion, and we decided it was time to go. We hiked through the canyon for around forty minutes, seeing petrified wood, fossils, and rich colored rocks from emerald to garnet red. As we walked, Eli continually admonished us about the risk we were taking. Without being able check the weather (no service or civilization), we didn’t know how high of chance we were taking with flash floods. However, we all decided to venture on, but kept an ever present eye for escape routes. Soon enough though the canyon narrowed severely and dropped down into darkness.
We found the rappel rings and Eli pulled the rope through. A few seconds after he chucked it down we heard an echoing splash. Oh man, Fry-Lette was nothing compared to this. Eli rappelled down first, going around 60 feet before confirming our swimming fate. Zach went next, then Madi, and finally me.
I lowered down to find everyone on a sloping slide-like feature with very little space. Eli’s hiking boots were already in a few inches of brown water and it continually lapped at our slide. I took myself off rappel and slid into Madi who was essentially slide tackling Zach’s sprained ankle which was keeping us all from the pool. Even the function of pulling rope created a scary amount of movement to our precarious position.
Finally though, like little ducklings in single file, Eli leaped and let out an immediate groan over the temperature, than Zach plunged in, Madi tried a butt slide attempt, and finally I dove.
After twenty feet we were standing in mud, and it continued back and forth like that for another ten minutes. Suddenly though, we waded through our last ice cold puddle, and emerged in an open canyon with Anasazi ruins up in the overhangs of the cliffs.
We walked on for another thirty minutes before deciding the established and “obvious” trail out was lost on us, and Eli scouted our own way out with a bit of chimney and slab climbing. After another forty minute walk we were back at the car, mostly dry, and eating PB&Js with bananas. Moral of the story canyoneering is hype.