Go see Red Cave near Mount Carmel Utah

5:29 p.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
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In the center of this mapcard aerial photo is upper and lower Sand Wash. Mount Carmel is just to the left in the lower end of the green valley coming down from the upper middle. The two washes begin at the edge of the sandstone that is to their right. At that point there are two different but very simular slot canyons.

This is the top map of the same place. Both Upper and lower Sand Wash and slots start on the Glendale Bench, the flat nearly 2000 foot higher plateau to the extreme right.

There are many mini slot canyons along this whole side of the Glendale Bench. Up at the top of the topo on the right is Red Hollow just outside the old Mormon town of Orderville.

All the canyon land east of Mount Carmel on the west flank of the White Cliffs (part of the western edge of the Grand Staircase Nat Monument) are beautifully eroded lil canyons with Ponderosa Pines, Pinon pine, Juniper,Cedar and desert scrub, cacti, rattlesnakes,lizards and indian ruins.

Entrance to Red Cave slot canyon

Photographed by my friend Tanya Mulligan

Navigating a rock barrier

Layers of ancient sand drifts shown in the slot canyon walls

Stony floor of Red Cave

So if you find yourself driving towards Zion from Kanab or Bryce, stop in at the Thunderbird Best Western at the jct near Mt Carmel and ask for directions to Red Cave, Spring and Red Hollows, all withing 10-30 minutes walk from US89.

11:19 a.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Beautiful photos Gary.

One area that caught my eye were the Elkhart (?) Cliffs area on the left edge of the Glendale Bench Plateau.

Have you explored that area, and if so, does that Escarpment drain the plateau? I guess that would be very seasonal rainfall?

I have never been to a slot canyon, I would enjoy that a lot, thanks for giving me a chance to see them.

3:25 p.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Yes I have been to Elkheart cliffs area. There is actually a point called Elkheart but being I can't rappel I could'nt get out there the last time I went on Glendale Bench and wanted to. Its about a 40 foot drop off the bench onto the area that leads out to the point.

Yes the Sand Wash amongst many other drainages do drain off Glendale Bench. Many do so steeply that at the base of each is a small slot canyon before they open up out onto the lower sandstone areas leading towards Long Valley on the west, Kanab Creek on the east side and into Red Canyon at the end where theres a point called Diana's Throne.

Glendale bench is about 2-4 miles wide and starts up near the town of Glendale, Utah (hence its name) It extends down about 10 miles to the end above the Vermillion Cliffs. Glendale bench is part of the White cliffs section of the Grand Staircase Nat Monument.

On the east side is Kanab creek which starts in and area called the Sunset Cliffs which are the same formation as Byrce farther northeast and called the Pink Cliffs. The Vermillion Cliffs are above the town of Kanab and go around and above Marble Canyon above the Grand Canyon. They also make up the Cockscomb ridge near Buckskin Gulch and the Paria. The north rim of the Grand Canyon is the next layer in the cake of the Grand Staircase.

Slot canyons are cool! Literally! When the surrounding country around them is exposed to bright hot reflective sunshine, a slot canyon can be a 1000 feet deep and no wider than a hallway or doorway. Buckskin Gulch is considered the longest slot canyon in the world at 13 miles long. In summer when the sun is highest it is still shaded most of the day.

A 50 foot cottonwood tree dwarfed by the much higher cliffs of Buckskin Gulch.

Feeling like a smaller than average person? You must be in a slot canyon like Buckskin!

A knifes edge of sunlight reflected in a watery section in Buckskin Gulch.

5:06 p.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
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That's really cool Gary, how do you monitor rainfall / water flow so you don't get trapped in a slot canyon during flash floods? Is there a website that keeps up with water levels and rain fall?

6:56 p.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Most months are safe for hiking the Utah slots, July and August are not good months to hike them. Thats the rainy season in Utah. And rain does not have to fall in the immediate area, it can fall 100 miles away and still be dangerous. I once was camped along the upper Paria well high enough not to be in flash flood danger, it was August 1996. As I sat in my campspot about 100 feet from the edge of the Paria, I heard something rustling upcanyon. Soon a 6 inch deep flow of water came rolling by with dead leaves and twigs on it front edge, soon the dry wash was full of water, then it was flowing and going by at a steady rate, then about 20 minutes later the other end of the flow came by and in another 30 minutes the sun had dried the water soaked wash back to its dry state. A thunderstorm had obviously dropped some rain somewhere upstream, but was short and made a short river flow.

Often times in the Buckskin there can be deep waist to chest high water holes, where the last rain and river flow got trapped in the deeper sections of the slot, usually see these in the Fall after the rainy season is over. The last time I hiked the Buckskin there were 9 sections of waist deep water along the 13 miles of the Gulch in late September 2008.

One time before that, my first time down the Buckskin in late May 1999 while working on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, a roommate and I took our day off and drove to hike down Buckskin. It had not rained in about 9 month since the summer before. But because the slot canyon is so narrow and the winter sun after October never reaches some places the water had very slowly dried up, but 3 places were shallower but not dry, the water was full of silt and mud was like walking thru a thick chocolate milkshake.

I figured there might be more clear water farther downstream where the Buckskin emptied into the Paria where there was a spring so we kept hiking. But we found only more thick pools of chocolate silt shakes. Then we turn around and headed back to the car and had to rewade the tree thickened pools on the way, no way to get around them.

That night even tho I soaked my feet and washed them really well, they started cracking on the heels and around my toes. I guess the silt/mud pulled all the oils and moisture out of my feet. They were sore for a week!

The late September hike with 9 poolsof water was a cold hike. The water being in the Fall shade all the time was very cold and with no where to warm up for 13 miles by the timea friend and I got into the Paria Canyon we were chilled to the bone. The upper Paria is wider than it is below the "confluence" with the Buckskin on the AZ/UT border. We managed to find some open sunshine and dry out and warm up before hiking on upstream back to our bicycles. )We had drove and left our bikes near where we came out and then drove my friends car to the head of Buckskin Gulch. We did is as two day hike. Then rode our bikes 26 miles back to the car back at the trailhead.The hike down the Buckskin and up the Paria was also about 26 miles total.

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