Sunday, April 8, 2018

Waterhole Canyon - 4/3/18

Waterhole Canyon Slot

Waterhole Canyon from Above

Highway 89 Bridge over Slot

Waterhole Canyon Trailhead
 Seven hikers were on our way through Page, Arizona and needed a little break from the driving. We stopped at the Navajo Tribal Ranger Station office on Coppermine Road to buy a $12 permit to hike a little slot canyon two miles south of Horseshoe Bend, which is around 2 miles south of Page on Highway 89. After finding the trailhead directly off the pavement, we followed the trail markers down to drop into the canyon. At first, we found a great place for a photo of the Highway 89 bridge. Then, we worked our way up and around to the trail drop and began hiking up the slot in the sand.

Hiking to the Slot Drop
 The slot canyon begins pretty wide then quickly narrows. The walls are high enough that you usually cannot climb out of the slot.

Starting up the Slot

Heading into the Narrows
 The seven hikers excitedly weaved in and out of the narrow turns of the slot when a couple of other hikers told us that there was a rattlesnake in the canyon narrows not too far ahead. As we scrambled, we were on the lookout! The snake was curled against the wall in a narrow dark section of the slot and seemed defensive yet quiet. Maybe he had fallen into the slot and didn't know how to get out. There certainly wasn't anywhere for him to go from there without snaking his way up the walls. Hmm. Anyway, we carefully scooted past him and went on our way.

Dark Narrows
A ladder came next. It was more like two ladders bolted together. At the top, there was a precarious long step to the next level. We helped each other up.

Rita demonstrates the Ladder

Small Rattler at Wrong Place - Oops!
The next obstacle was a climb out of the narrows into the last level of the canyon. It was about a seven foot chimney situation. The canyon opened out at the top end and everyone (except me) turned around to go back the way they came. I decided to climb out where there were cairns and take the overland trail back along the top of the slot. The trail was easy to follow with a few cairns and footsteps in the sand. Some of the other hikers continued down to take a look at the dry fall under the bridge. This was a fun little diversion at 2.5 miles.

Top of the Narrows

Canyon opening near Top

Overland Trail

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