A couple years ago I met this totally awesome chic named Dawn who runs Bucket List Adventures, an outdoor adventure bucket list fulfillment group. She went on a backpacking trip with me, which turned out to be about as much fun as attending an amateur synchronized swimming contest, (the backpacking trip that is, Dawn was tits). We became facebook friends which in todays social circles means we are legit, and I can borrow money from her. Anyway she wanted to do a pretty basic canyon to shake off the winter rust, and break in a first timer.
I told them that Baptist Draw would be a good one. It was close to Salt Lake, only had one mandatory rappel and was pretty. Baptist Draw has two options to exit the canyon, exit going down canyon through Lower Chute canyon or exit up canyon through Upper Chute. I have done both of them before. Exiting up Chute was my first year canyoneering, going down Chute was the next year.
As far as I could remember I really didn’t care for either of the exits or the canyon. However, it was the only canyon that fit the parameters that Dawn gave me. I was excited to take the Disco out and hang out with Dawn, but for the canyon itself I would have rather stuck a fork in a power outlet.
After several stops, one of which was to pick up wonder mutt, we finally arrived at the campsite and trailhead at about 11:00 pm at night. It didn’t take long for us to set up camp, kick back a drink or two and then head to bed.
Everyone dragged a little in the morning so we didn’t get the earliest start. My recollection from my previous trips in this area led me to believe that exiting up Chute would be faster. Considering our late start this was what the plan evolved into.
The first trip of the year with Disco can be kind of rough. He remembers enough about rappelling to know he doesn’t like it, but not enough to remember that he gets over it. This trip was no exception. He did manage to do almost all of the down and up-climbing without assistance and in the narrow section was stemming with his paws on one wall and his back on the other wall. Once we reached the 80 foot rappel this would change.
Rappelling with a dog often requires you to use both of your hands to adjust the dogs position. It is unsafe for someone to descend without a firemans belay, especially with the extra weight bunny strapped between your legs. I had reached the 80 foot rappel and set up the ropes before the next person arrived. I decided to go first and let the next person bring Disco.
Disco was not okay with this. He doesn’t like rappelling in the first place and I think he likes it even less when I am not close to him. When Leann started descending with Disco, the bunny strap got wrapped around the rope. Neither of them had their full weight on the rope so making the adjustment was easy, but required Disco to be in a state of limbo for a minute. Poor thing was shaking. It was over in a minute or two and Disco was stoked to be running around on his on four feet, completely forgetting about the life or death experience he thought he had.
We headed up canyon which had long stretches of slot that required some turning sideways and upclimbing. Disco jumped almost all of them and only had to be assisted once or twice. At one point we came around the corner and saw a scene that sort of resembled pride rock from the Lion King. Disco and I pretended like we were famous and then moved on.
The canyon continued to alternate between a few open areas and narrows as we continued up it. All in all, it took us an hour and a half from the 80 foot rappel before we got to the exit point. With that part of the canyon behind me I have to acknowledge that my recollection of what the canyon was like, is seriously flawed. It was a pretty good canyon for beginners and was a lot of fun. Dawn actually listed it as one of her favorite canyons.
We got back to camp pretty early and a group that left just before us, but went down Chute, was leaving shortly after we made it back to camp. I can only assume that heading down canyon was about the same amount of time as heading up canyon. Longer distance wise it has less obstacles…well according to my recollection. Dawn was as awesome as I remember so it is safe to say that senility only strikes me about 50% of the time.