Roadtrip Plan Step Two Part Two: Mapping Slot Canyons and Other Places

Death Valley, May 2005 by DK Sanders-Weatherford

Death Valley, May 2005 by DK Sanders-Weatherford

I want to go back to Death Valley to see those moving rocks (Death Valley Back Country Roads map PDF), and I want to see some slot canyons. I’ve been seeing a lot of photos on Facebook lately of slot canyons. They’re totally cool looking. I so want to take pictures of slot canyons. I assumed the slot canyons are in the southwest (they are), and I know Death Valley is in the southwest, so it appears that desert geological formations has become the basis for this trip.

What else is in the southwest? Dinosaur bones. There are more dinosaur bones found in the desert because it’s just a bunch of sand and easier than digging around in the woods. I guess. Of course we’ve already been to most of the dinosaur places in the U.S. southwest and all the other directions. But Benjamin was little and doesn’t remember them that well, and the quarry near Dinosaur, Colorado was closed because the building was sinking, and that’s been rebuilt and reopened. And he’s been wanting to return to Dinosaur, Colorado; he remembers the store with the great prices on model dinosaurs (and other prehistoric beasts). They had a pretty good sandwich shop there, too. And yeah, I realize Dinosaur, Colorado isn’t in the southwest…

What else is in the desert? Petroglyphs! Ancient Native American dwellings! Ruins! I will Google all of these things! I’ll also look in southwestern states for living history farms (Wikipedia’s List of open-air and living history museums in the United States) and natural history museums and mazes. I really want to go through a maze; with my lack of any sense of direction, I want to see if the playing field is leveled any for me in a maze.

But first, I Google slot canyons and find several lists of the best ones. I see which ones are on multiple lists and start with those. First up is Antelope Canyon; the photos are incredible. I would love to see it, but the website tells of tour-only visits with strict guidelines. I understand this, cutting down on the wear and tear on the canyon, but I’m wanting a more laid-back experience.

These in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (southern Utah) look interesting:

  • Zebra Slot Canyon
  • Tunnel Slot Canyon
  • Spooky Gulch and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyons (3.5 mile round trip through both)
  • Dry Fork Narrows
  • Singing Slot Canyon on the Burr Trail (Yes, it sings!)

I placed these on the map separately, and then realized they’re all in the same area. That’s why the mapping comes first. It lets you see clusters of places, so you can start getting a sense of the route. It also makes it obvious when some of the places are way off from everything else, and then you know those places are probably getting cut. Unless you add a lot of other places near them.

I also found Buckskin Gulch on the Utah/Arizona border; it’s the longest slot canyon in the world! It’s just south of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Also Pastel Canyon in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada just north of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.

Further research on the slot canyons will involve how long is the hike, how rough is the hike, how much water to wade through, is a permit required, is it tour-only, etc.

All goes on the map. I’m trying something a little different this year. I’m using Google Maps Save function with each place and saving them to the Want to Go list. I usually start out making a new Google map, but decided to try this first. Like a first draft. Then I’ll go through all the Want to Go places and create a map. When I’m done with the Want to Go map. That’s probably where I’ll hit a snag, knowing when I’m done and ready to create a map. I want to keep adding places; I want to go everywhere!

I’m still adding everything to Pinterest on a Roadtrip 2020: Southwest U.S. board. But this time, I’m also sending everything to Trello to create cards (using the Send to Trello link I added to my bookmark bar in Firefox), and I’ll add them to a map in Trello. I’ll see how useful this works out to be.

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