M Notes from the Field: SuperUltraLight Bushwhacking in the Canyons of Grand Gulch, Utah

by Carol Crooker

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Article Summary:

Ah, the peace and solitude I felt wandering through slick rock canyon bottoms while skirting muddy pools from a recent rain, watching water fall over a 60-foot high pour off, and visiting ancient Native American ruins. Well, that describes 20 percent of my recent canyoneering trip in Utah's Grand Gulch Primitive area. Much of the other 80 percent went like this: push through head-high verdant vegetation nurtured by months of record precipitation, scramble down a 6-foot high sandy stream bank when any trace of a path disappears, carefully maneuver through thin mud and around deeper mud holes, clamber up the stream bank on the other side, bushwhack through more vegetation, and repeat, and repeat,...

Grand Gulch required more bushwhacking than I've ever had the pleasure of encountering and still it was a wonderful trip! The ruins were the most intact of any I've seen, with full walls and some even had roofs. The company was good (Don Wilson and Will Rietveld, Backpacking Light Editors), and we didn't see any other people except near the entrance and exit trail heads. The weather was nice with a little rain for gear testing and lows only into the low 40's. Oh, and I was only carrying 12 pounds on my back. It was a wonderful trip!

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