Oh, Canyoneering, How We Love Thee**
When we’re not paragliding or rock climbing, you can find us canyoneering. Broadly speaking, canyoneering combines hiking with swimming, high jumps, scrambling, stemming, and technical rope skills such as rappelling (abseiling). Of course, it is possible to descend certain walkable canyons without doing any of these. But those are not the sort of canyons we Fools prefer.
Stumbling To The Start
The weather was a brutal 100 degrees. Really, we should not have attempted the canyon during the dog days of summer – talk about a foolish decision (pause for groans). But this canyon had been on our list for a while. So when we found ourselves with a free day, we decided to go for it.
After hiking along a stone-filled riverbed, we headed up a ridge under direct sun. That was the most taxing part of the day. We may have stopped a few times (okay, like, 6) to wipe ourselves down and gulp in water. By the time we reached the first rappel, located in a nice, shaded clearing, we were happy to relax for a bit while taking in the view.
Rappelling Down Waterfalls
The descent is a series of four rappels ranging from 30 to 160 feet. It’s a straightforward route – no way finding between them. Three of the rappels are directly along waterfalls. As it’s been a wet year in California, two of the falls ended in near waist-deep pools – extremely refreshing on that hot, hot day. In previous years, owing to the drought, many local waterfalls had slowed to a trickle.
As a team of two, we work our way through canyons relatively quickly. A short 3.5 hours after we started the hike, we were back at our car.