March 28, 2015 (Millie's 2nd birthday)
About 40 miles down a dirt road east of Goblin Valley in the Robber's Roost area. Easily one of the most impressive road endings anywhere, a well-kept passable dirt road ends unwarned abruptly at the entrance of the canyon, a sheer 150' drop. Beautiful. Camp anywhere at the end of the road in fine red sand reminiscent of a beach. Remote camping stunning surroundings amazing stars at night.
Summer-like. Warm, sunny, a fair amount of people. Two groups of three went in before us. Another group was camping at the put-in upon return, running it in the morning. Weather was perfect, little water in the canyon, no more than knee deep.
Alcatraz is hard. Physically and mentally. The most challenging slot we've done yet. It would likely be easier going without cats, but with the kitties we had a long hard day. 8 hours to go 5 miles. The first rappel is wild, pull your vehicle to the cliff edge, chockstone the wheels, rig an anchor off the car drop in. We intended to get shots of this scene as it's pretty impressive but 30 people showed up with 4-wheelers, families, quad-copter drone flying around, all very stressful for the cats. So we tied in rapped off entered the canyon quickly. The canyon narrows and has two stiff down-climbs quickly, so we were away from the chaos. After a moment to calm the team we continued to some impressive narrows. We encountered knee-deep water, narrows too slim to fit through that had to be stemmed over, dark stretches requiring headlamps even though it was full-sun without a cloud in the sky, and a couple other short rappels. We downclimbed the last one, apparently there's a bolt you can rap off of but we never saw it. Slots with cats have two cruxes, the obstacles in the canyon, and the overland hike back to the start. The hike is exposed, full-sun, and hard for the cats. Each return becomes a series of short bursts from shady spot to shady spot. They always find little caves to cool off in. This slow pace, different way of moving across the land, is half the fun. There's a lot of resting after an objective day, and the next day is spent lazing and letting the cats wander freely wherever they may for a while. We found some nice red dunes to warm our feet in on the way out. The Roost truly is amazing.
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