WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2013
"Tunnel Slot Canyon"
As we hiked across the plateau towards the back entrance of Tunnel canyon, there really weren't any landmarks to guide us so it took a little while to find the entrance to the canyon. As we nagivated across the sea of slickrock we eventually saw what had to be the canyon up ahead. As we got closer we realized that indeed it was the descent down into the canyon. Next, we had to find a way down. It was very steep and there was no obvious trail, but eventually we did find a route down. Once we were in the canyon we had a welcome respite from the sun. The canyon was fully shaded and it was nice and cool as we walked down-canyon. We would soon be wishing for the sun again, however.
As we rounded a corner in Tunnel canyon, we could see up ahead the section that gave the canyon it's name. The "slot" section of Tunnel is indeed just that: a tunnel through the rock. Unlike most slot canyons, Tunnel does not have much of an opening, if any, at the top. This means that very little sunlight gets inside the canyon and it gets pretty cold because of that. Also, on this day, the canyon was full of water! We knew there was a chance that it would be full of water, but we were hoping that because of the relatively dry spring it would (hopefully) be dry. Well, it wasn't. It was full of water, and it was COLD water. And, in the deepest part, it was almost chest-deep on me (I'm just over 6 feet tall). So, we had a decision to make... wade through the deep, freezing water or backtrack up over the plateau the way we came. If we went through the water, we would have about a 2 to 3 mile walk back to the car. If we backtracked, it would be more like 5 to 6 miles. None of us felt like backtracking, so we decided to go through the water.
I went in first, and used the extended legs of my tripod to "feel" the water depth ahead of me as I advanced through the canyon. At first it wasn't too bad, barely above my knees. And, after the initial shock of the ice-cold water, my legs went a little numb and it didn't feel as cold so I spent a few minutes in the middle of the canyon to make some images of our friend Roger coming through the canyon. Eventually, though, my legs couldn't take the cold any more and it was time to go through and out into the warm sun. Once we were out of the slot canyon and back into the warm sun, we found a nice flat section of rock to try and dry out in the sun. We removed our shoes and socks and laid them out on the rocks to dry. After about 15 to 20 minutes we were already about half-dry so we decided to continue the hike back to the car. By the time we hiked the couple of miles back to the car across the open desert and hot sun, we were pretty much completely dry. It definitely was an exciting adventure, one that none of us will ever forget!
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm
Focal length: 17mm
Shutter speed: 0.6 sec