Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon

We haven't ever hiked a slot canyon before, but I've always wanted to! Little Wild Horse is near Goblin Valley, and everything I read said it was a good place for families and little kids, so we were excited to try it out. I thought, based on its designation as an "easy" or "beginner" slot canyon that it probably wouldn't be as cool as some of the "advanced" canyons (the kinds you have to rappel into or whatever)—but I thought it was great! Beautiful narrow slots, and gorgeous light streaming down from above, and interesting sand dune lines and ripple marks on the rocks. I can hardly imagine how there could be a more beautiful place! Here's some information about how slot canyons are formed. We read that there are more of them in Utah than in any other place on earth!

It was really hot the day we went, and the slot sections were SO nice—you could even feel the cooler air coming off the rock walls before you walked in. There were some really narrow squeezes, but nothing TOO difficult, and even Goldie (who is three) managed it all okay, with a couple boosts here and there when we had to climb over big rocks. I was walking with her most of the time, and there were a few places when squeezing myself, and the camera around my neck, AND Goldie, through the  rocky passages was a bit tricky. But we just took it slow and we were fine.

I would LOVE to hike this again on a cool fall day. It's on our list of places to revisit for sure!

The hike starts out in this wide sandy wash. This was the hottest part! It was a relief to get into the (relatively) shady canyon area.
We carried our lunch up just past the wide part, then ate and left our cooler there to pick up on the way down. There were just a few of these large overhanging rocks to provide shade.

The children were constantly climbing up rocks and into little holes. They were so pleased with themselves! I always tell them they are free to climb around and explore as long as they are in front of me and not behind! So they're constantly racing ahead to give themselves time. It keeps everyone going. And I'm usually coming last with the baby or the smallest ones, so it's not too hard to stay ahead of me! :)
At one point I was walking through a section of canyon and I thought I heard someone giggle, but no one else heard it so I thought I was imagining things. A few minutes later I caught up to Sam and said "Where's Goldie?" She was gone! We went back and found her coming up the trail alone, laughing to herself and saying "I was hiding." Eeek! We had to make a new rule that everyone has to come out and reveal themselves when I come by!
I love the graceful, scalloped shapes these walls make. Can you spy Daisy?
Here's one of the narrowest sections. Tiny Goldie just walked on through, but most of us couldn't even get our feet to fit on that tiny floor! We had to walk along on the walls.
Sam, doing the bulk of the work holding that heavy, heavy Theodore.
I loved the view looking up too!
Smooth waves and scoops.
I love how rich the colors are as you go in and out of light and darkness, too. Those reds and oranges in the rocks glow like fire!
Tiny girl and big rocky walls
Goldie found this dead lizard. Poor little guy.
Such a cool rock "doorway"
These sweeping upward fins are so amazing! See little running Junie for scale.
Hot. We sought out any little shade we could find.
More fins and holes, and Marigold. This Goldie was really the best little hiker. Cheerful, talkative, brave. I loved being with her.
Something about that little tiny speck of light you can see through the winding slot section really made me love this part. I think it just makes it feel like a secret little tunnel.
Here's one of those ripple-marked rocks I was talking about in this post. You can tell from these rocks that this area was an ancient beach. It is so strange to stand in this hot, dry place and imagine a sea lapping onto sand right here millions of years ago!
These smooth, sheer walls are amazing!
Teddy finally fell asleep for a short time, which was a great relief to everyone. He looks so sweet, doesn't he? Certainly not like someone who would SCREAM a bloodcurdling scream of frustration and anger every few moments while awake! Never.
More creamy, wavy scallops.
Such great colors!

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