Canyoneering and Capital Reef in Utah

Utah24

Canyoneering is a combination of hiking, scrambling (that’s when you use your hands, feet, and bum to climb up and down mountains and canyons), and rappelling. (Think of the movie 127 hours – we were right in that area doing pretty much the same thing). I go to spinning, and I had just recently hiked in Costa Rica … but the 8 hour adventure was still a challenge. You might want to train for this, and mentally prepare to use every muscle in your body. That being said, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

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Our group met up with Chris Hagedorn from Get In The Wild Adventures in Hanksville. I know that I joke that my parents live in the middle of nowhere in Kennebunkport, but Hanksville is 2 hours from a grocery store. The town consists of a motel, a convenience store, and a restaurant. From Hanskville we drove about 20 minutes to the Dirty Devil/Robbers Roost Canyons. This area isn’t a State or National Park, but it’s just as spectacular.

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Once we arrived we put our lunches (which Chris made us) and our head lamps in our backpacks and put on our camelbacks, hats, sunglasses, helmets, and sunscreen. Chris helped us into harnesses for the rappelling and then it was time to go.

We started off with hiking down small mountains into the area with the canyons. Then Chris gave us a quick lesson in rappelling safety, and it was time to rappel 90 feet into the canyons. Some of the rappels were harder than others, but we had someone spotting us and holding a rope to protect us when we needed it. In addition to a 90 foot and 60 foot rappel we also had about 6 sections were we just had to climb down rocks using a rope to assist us. It was challenging but Chris talked us through every step of the way.

I know that this sounds really difficult, and it was, but we had complete faith in Chris. He is a trained civil engineer, a fact which gave us all great comfort.

Usually Chris only does tours during the daytime, but since we had a packed schedule, we couldn’t get going until 3 – which meant that we were hiking until nearly midnight. And… when the sun sets, the spiders come out. The hardest part of the entire day was scrambling past a couple nests of spiders. But – I did it (we were past the point of no return), and I had no choice but to conquer my fears.

While we spent 8 full hours hiking and rappelling, the total distance was under 2 miles. Many of us said that it was the most physically strenuous activity we have ever done in our lives. But it was really fun. I was with an amazing group of female travel writers and we embraced the challenge and supported each other every step of the way.

When you spend an entire day canyoneering, I think it burns so many calories that it gives you a free pass to eat whatever you want for the rest of your trip. And that is definitely what we did. I have more stories from my trip through Utah coming your way this month.

*Chris’s Get In The Wild Tours are seasonal, and he gives tours in Seattle in the summers.

This trip was sponsored by Skyscanner and Visit UtahSkyscanner is an incredible tool that helps you find deals on airfare – I highly recommend it. Skyscanner has more travel partners than anyone else, and when you search for flights they include all of the taxes and fees in the price. It also has a search option to search Everywhere to find the best deals and get travel inspiration. 

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  • I have seriously always wondered what canyoneering is. 🙂 Looks really neat. I’d love to try it!

    • You should try it! It was one of my favorite all time travel experiences.

  • Looks so fun! Happy Friday!

  • budgetjan

    The travel book I’m reading at the moment has canyoning in it. It sounds too difficult for me, but I can see what a feeling of satisfaction you would have after completing the course.

    • It was so much fun, but definitely one of the most challenging things I have ever done!

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