backpacking
29 days ago

A few days ago, we sucessfully backpacked buckskin gulch in utah, which is referred to as the longest slot canyon in the world and one of the most dangerous hikes in north america. We scored the last of the highly coveted overnight permits, and embarked on the most physically and psychologically demanding hike I have ever participated in.

The walls reached 400 feet above us, and at times we could touch the walls to either side of us. we waded through pools of freezing, chocolate milk colored muddy water up to our waists and chests. At one point, we had to gag our way through a seemingly endless stretch of neck deep, black, putrid, stagnant floodwaters full of dead animals and decaying plant matter. At other points, we couldnt touch the ground, and we had to swim with our packs.

There were multiple snakes and tarantulas. We also learned that quicksand is a real thing. Most of the trip felt like an episode of fear factor, but worse since once you're in, you dont have enough time or supplies to turn back.

Flash floods are the real danger here, as there is only one escape route halfway in. If you can't make it in time, or already passed it, you will have a hard time trying to survive. Our trip had 0% chance of rain and was supposed to not have a single cloud in the sky, but ominous clouds hung over the gulch for part of our trip, raising tension and reminding us that the gulch had total control.

What made matters worse is that our gps was 3 miles off. Cold, wet, and exhausted towards the end of day 1, we thought we had just 1.5- 2 miles left until our campsite, but we actully had over 5, leaving us to navigate pools of water in the dark, clear a boulder jam without rope, and accidentally miss our campsite and having to hike to the next one.

We're covered in mosquito bites, our bones are bruised, we still smell terrible, and I can barely walk, but the experience was once in a lifetime. Buckskin Gulch feels neverending, twisting your mind and body in ways we never could have imagined. While the views are beautiful, Buckskin Gulch is truly relentless.

10/10