Hunter and I have gone to Henrieville three out of the last four weekends. I think we are addicted to the place...or maybe it's just my mama's apple pie. :)
This weekend I was especially excited to visit because a family friend was in town. Owen Hoffman worked with my dad at Zion National Park about forty years ago, and they've been friends ever since. I think I was about 14 years old the last time he and his family came to visit, so it's been a while! Well he and his wife, and his wife's niece, are vacationing in southern Utah for a few weeks. We met up with them Saturday morning and headed to some slot canyons to do some hiking.
We headed down the Hole in the Rock road, and eventually ended up at Peekaboo and Spooky gulch. In my opinion, Spooky is aptly named. Why do I say this? Well about 12 years ago when I was working for Turnabout Ranch, we took the kids through here. I was a lot braver in those days, and I found the narrowness of Spooky's walls to be only mildly disconcerting. The problem for me was not claustrophobia...it was much worse. We had hiked through Peekaboo and were nearing the end of Spooky when the pathway became quite narrow again. As I looked through the path ahead I came to a horrifying realization...the narrow walls were covered with huge daddy long-leg spiders! COVERED! Not just one or two here and there; the spiders were EVERYWHERE! Oh my gosh, I'm hyperventilating just thinking about it!!!
I didn't know what to do. The walls were narrow enough that you couldn't turn sideways and avoid the nasty guys. You were absolutely guaranteed to touch them/get them on you no matter how skinny you might be. I also considered high-tailing it back the way I had come...even though I could see the end of the canyon up ahead. Enduring the spiders just wasn't worth it. However, there had been a tricky descent at one point in the hike, and I knew there was no way I'd be able to climb that part without some help. I was stuck.
I'm really not sure how I made it through. I do remember we voted to have the largest kid lead the way, hoping he would clear the path for us!! He was not bothered at all by the spiders, and didn't mind helping those of us who were freaking out. But I don't actually remember walking through that part. I must have blocked it out of my mind, because I was seriously traumatized. And yet, I lived to tell the tale! That right there was a miracle, my friends. And I'm not even kidding.
Okay so that was a huge side-note. Back to the main story: I was excited to show this area to Hunter. I knew he would love it. I also knew there was no way I could hike Spooky again, for fear of those darn spiders. Fortunately, no one really wanted to push their luck with the narrow canyon walls, so we just walked the Dry Fork of Coyote. This is a luxury slot canyon...beautiful swirling walls with plenty of room to move through.
We then moved on to Peekaboo, which begins with a rather daunting vertical climb. Hunter, of course, had to do it...and then Sandy joined him. I was quite comfortable remaining on solid ground, thank you very much.
Last but not least: Spooky. We ventured in knowing it wouldn't be long before we'd be heading back out. My dad insisted on going last so he could turn tail and run when it got too narrow. After a couple of minutes between those rock walls, I understood the wisdom in this. Remember how the narrowness didn't bother me 12 years ago? Well it bothered me this time! There were a few spots where I had to turn sideways and wriggle my way between the rocks...and I started feeling lightheaded and slightly panicky. Being in the middle of the group made me nervous too...there was absolutely no escape from that rock + people sandwich! Yikes!
Owen was trying to decide whether or not he fit. Ortrud (his wife) and I were frantically trying to convince him it wasn't worth finding out!
Me & Hunter in a safe spot:
After the slot canyons, we went to Devil's Garden for lunch and more sight-seeing. This place is pretty cool, and not scary at all. Unless your husband happens to think he's eight-years-old and impervious to gravity:
Despite the anxiety, it turned out to be a wonderful day. It was great to see Owen & Ortrud again, and I always love spending time with my parents. I especially love seeing Hunter turn into a kid whenever he enjoys himself; he had so much fun exploring, climbing and discovering. He brings all our adventures to life, and I love having him around. :)