Stevens Canyon 2009 – Day 7

Synopsis: Dayhikes to unnamed side canyon and the pass into Fold Canyon. April 22, 2009.

This day we split into two parties and did two different dayhikes: Katie, Ben, and Sibyl went on sensible short dayhike, while Charles, Joel, Andy, Dr. Andy, Erin, and I went on a long and less sensible dayhike.

We left camp about 10:00.


The Sasquatch food group had some kind of bizarre fruity concoction for breakfast. It really was this bright orange. Reports were it was not tasty.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (109k), full size (289k)


Charles standing over the dam I built the previous day. It broke in the middle of the night with a great big sloshing noise. I put on my glasses and went out and looked at it and it was cool.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (112k), full size (328k)

Short Hike

Destination for the short hike was the upstream of the two side canyons below camp (the one just past our tower, that we didn’t explore on Day 4).


Pinnacles downstream of camp.

Photo by Katie Panciera.
medium (143k), large (496k), full size (1669k)


Mouth of the side canyon, with the large wall of the side canyon explored on Day 4 beyond.

Photo by Katie Panciera.
medium (177k), large (488k), full size (3969k)


Pinnacle and sculpted rocks in side canyon.

Photo by Katie Panciera.
medium (114k), large (298k), full size (2932k)


I am not sure exactly what is going on here.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (90k), large (234k), full size (3269k)

Katie adds: Ben has an uncanny talent for taking bad pictures of me. This is an example of that talent. I believe I am demonstrating that it is hot out. Perhaps I am trying to look like a tree. Or something equally embarrassing. Sadly I do not remember the circumstances.


Blocking fall at the head of the side canyon. Wow!

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (145k), large (400k), full size (3407k)


Downstream view of the side canyon.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (72k), large (185k), full size (2778k)


Back in camp – our tower.

Photo by Katie Panciera.
medium (75k), large (187k), full size (1813k)


Ben as hipster model. Work it!

Photo by Katie Panciera.
medium (70k), large (177k), full size (2963k)

Long Hike

The long dayhike continued along the Allen book’s suggested multiday loop as far as the pass into Fold Canyon (a different loop than the one to the top of the Waterpocket Fold).

The first step was to just hike quite a ways up the bed of Stevens Canyon.


This area just upstream of the springs had millions of spiders crawling around in the ground litter. You could hear them rustling everywhere. People complained when I stopped to take pictures.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (288k), full size (1112k)


Staggering on.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (206k), full size (663k)


Side canyon.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (245k), full size (878k)


Periodically, there were spring areas. This one was an incredible bushwhack.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (273k), full size (1042k)


Crossing a grassy meadow as we continue upstream.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (198k), full size (713k)

It was a long walk to the next stage, where we would ascend to the top of the Wingate and then continue upstream.


Wingate ascent up a crack.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (221k), full size (746k)

Andy Exley adds: If you look at the high resolution version of this picture and zoom in to where I was (in the orange), it looks really steep. That isn’t a trick of the angle – it was really steep! This was probably the scariest thing I climbed. Eventually I slowed and Joel passed me by due to a section where the next handhold was higher than I was tall. I made it up somehow. I think Joel spotted handholds for me.


The crack was reportedly tricky. The other option was a lengthy friction slope, which Charles, Erin, and I chose. Here’s Charles on his way up.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (177k), full size (570k)

We stopped for lunch at the top of the ascent and then went on.


Navajo pinnacles.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (169k), full size (541k)


Along the Wingate traverse.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (148k), full size (439k)


Funky rock.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (151k), full size (522k)


Erin on the traverse, with the wide bowl of uppermost Stevens Canyon beyond.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (147k), full size (504k)


Back downstream. Our camp is beyond the end of the visible Navajo cliffs, way in the distance.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (172k), full size (567k)

We wound our way in and out of several side canyons, and then (finally) turned to ascend through the Kayenta to the pass.


Charles and Andy topping out on the final obstacle before the pass.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (160k), full size (516k)


Me taking some pictures.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (159k), large (447k), full size (3771k)


Panoramic view of upper Stevens Canyon. It’s a quite scenic place, but remarkably rugged, dry, and difficult to access.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (763k), full size (2219k)

We hung out at the pass for a few minutes enjoying the great views and then started home – it was already past 3pm.


Charles climbed up on this ledge, which looked pretty terrifying to me from below, but he said it was easy and safe.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (160k), full size (453k)


Fold Canyon, with the Escalante River gorge and Fiftymile Mountain far beyond. Allen’s route continues down this canyon to the Escalante.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (206k), full size (714k)


This Navajo Sandstone wall was stamped pi.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (218k), full size (741k)


Pass area. Charles’ ledge is in the background.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
medium (110k), large (283k), full size (642k)

We decided to traverse atop the Wingate all the way home, thinking it might be a short cut since the canyon bed was so rocky and rugged. This would turn out to be not the case – the views were nicer and the going often easier, but the route-finding was occasionally tricky and there was a lot of winding in and out of bays. It was a long walk back.

The water pump broke on the way back, severely limiting its efficiency and making filling up (we ran out) much more laborious than it should have been.

Incidentally, this route would be desperately dry most of the time. Recall that we had significant precipitation at the beginning of the trip.


Charles hiking home.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (232k), full size (855k)


Andy and several others of us hiking home.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
medium (160k), large (423k), full size (687k)


Andy and Joel enjoying the view of a couple of side canyons.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (191k), full size (627k)


Dr. Andy along the Wingate.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (140k), full size (452k)


Taking a (much-needed) break. We’re getting close – there’s our tower.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (141k), full size (446k)


Andy making his way home.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (143k), full size (456k)


Andy managed to step on a lizard. It departed and left its tail behind, which quivered grossly for a while but had stopped by the time I got there.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (183k), full size (572k)


Water flowing in the bed of Stevens Canyon, at the foot of the Baker Trail (coming in from the right).

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (213k), full size (722k)

It was a long day. We got back to camp at 7pm after 9 hours of hiking.

Your Mom had spaghetti for dinner. Sasquatch had beans and rice, perhaps.

Andy Exley adds: I went on the long hike. This was my worst time of the trip. I failed to bring a day pack. I wound up borrowing something of Erin’s to work as a day pack (I think it was the brain of her pack), but as a result, I only brought along one nalgene, lunch, and not much else. I wound up probably not getting as much water as I should have, since after lunch we were really up too high. I hadn’t really thought about it too much, and when I was running low, I started to worry. But fortunately, we were almost at the top at that point, and heading down wouldn’t be as bad. I made sure to drink a lot of water when we stopped on the way back.


Sunset on our tower. As you can see, it’s a pretty effective sundial.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (116k), full size (351k)

Please continue reading on Day 8.

Copyright © 1999-2013 Reid Priedhorsky. Last modified: 2009-11-01 16:48 CST. Disclaimer.