Monday, October 27, 2014


Back to that random-off-the-couch adventure stuff I like so much - this one took place in Moab back in the Spring. With only one free day to feel a sense of achievement and exhaustion the Utah adventurers recommended a biking-canyoning-rafting multi sport triad.

A 4am start saw us heading, with sleep in our eyes westward, into the San Rafael Swell.  The Swell, as Mr. Benson might tell me is a pretty unique Precambrian dike that suffered faulting, pushing the overlying rocks into an anticline. That description sounds like a typical day at my office and not all that unique, but the area is certainly cool.

I was disappointed to be too early for a junk food breakfast, but the day was going to be hot and the first leg was a lovely uphill bike ride, so probably best to keep driving. The biggest decision of the morning was therefore not choosing between a bagel and a muffin,  but the age old issue of what shoes to wear. Bike cleats on the rock? or Chacos on the bike? Or approach shoes on the river? These are the philosophical questions we adventurers grapple with...

After warming up for the day on the bike portion, the bikes were strategically placed under a tree (with Mr Bensons carbon one on the outside to deter thieves from my cheaper stead), we began the descent into the to the rocks via Music Canyon. Canyoneering: Music Canyon was my first canyon adventure without students, but the same magic remains: there is a mystery in going into the Earth, you get to move through its wrinkles and see the building of it centimeter by centimeter.

The descent gradually steepened going from walking to scrambling to down climbing, eventually the echoing chambers gave way to the sound of river.

Muddy Canyon: The Chute is navigable above about 100cfs, and we hit it about 101cfs, probably one of the few days of the year it is running. Our group was well supplied with technical gear for the descent. We had one break down paddle, one packraft, and two large pool toys. The packraft acted as the support boat for the expedition and stood up admirably to the rocky decent. This one was made by NRS and I can see the opportunities that open up with the we boats that weigh less than 5lbs, and can be carried in the bottom of a pack.

Eventually the channel moved slower and shallower so we shouldered the inner tubes, deflated the raft rolled it all up and hoofed it miles back to the vehicle completing the circuit in a solid 12-14 hours. Back at the car we squeezed into the small sliver of shade cast by the truck and enjoyed warm beer and super hot salsa. An awesome multi-sport day.

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