The Golden Cathedral of Escalante's Neon Canyon - October 2011
Went down to Escalante for a little Neon action with a delightful couple from Palo Alto, Xu and Xueshan, from whom I learned quite a bit about the Maoist Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the period of Chinese history during which they both came of age. One big benefit of these three-day trips is the relationship can be considerably deeper than on our usual, one-day Zion Adventure Company trip. (Pictures this Rave - some by me, some by Xu.)
We loaded up and the packs were huge. It wasn't too hot, but it was hot enough to be unpleasant. We hiked down and got the nice campsite at the mouth of Neon, set up camp, then went to the Cathedral to pump water, hitting the pool at 3 pm -- prime time for light reflecting off the puddle and making cool ripples. It was divine (but not necessarily photographing well, as the contrast was real high.) After dinner, we wandered up to the bench and did some training for the next day's rappels.
Morning we rose early and hiked up to the rim, then out past the Sport Entrance, past the More Fun, past the Fork Chop, and found The Tree. We put the rope around the tree, set up the Fiddlestick and rapped on in, glad to be out of the sun!
Our journey down the canyon involved a LOT of wading, and eventually, a lot of swimming. While normally this section of canyon takes a few hours, swimming is a lot slower, and a lot more tiring than walking, and it took most of the day to get down to the Cathedral. But Xu and Xueshan were troopers and held in there, and we hit the Cathedral for the Main Event around 5:30 pm. Back to camp not long after for a wonderful dinner then bed.
In the morning, up as early as reasonable for the hefty hike up the sand hill and out. A good canyon with great company - thank you Xu and Xueshan for a wonderful, entertaining and educational weekend.