We said goodbye to our friends in Virgin and hit the road. I like moving day. I like seeing the countryside, passing through towns, wondering why people are where they are and what life is like for them. We found a nice quiet spot in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and settled in.
Zebra And Tunnel Slot Canyons
Our first day was a hike into Zebra and Tunnel Slot Canyon. The few mile hike back into the canyon meanders along a wash with sandstone cliffs and wildflowers stretching out in all directions. The slot canyon itself is pretty short. When we got to it there was a group of 4 hikers that had turned back, scared by the water in the slot. They warned us people had told them it was waist high. No worries, I moved my cellphone higher up in my pack and in we waded. The water was chilly but the thrill of the adventure pumped me up. The canyon narrowed considerably and we had to shimmy through sideways at points. It got neater and neater.
After turning around we hiked out across the endless slab of sandstone slickrock, looping around to complete the lollipop part of the hike. This part is where I came across the moqui marbles. Moqui marbles are small black and brown balls of iron oxide and sandstone. The word Moqui comes from the Hopi Tribe. According to some internet sources, there is a Hopi legend that the Hopi ancestors’ spirits return to Earth in the evenings to play marble games with these iron balls, and that in the mornings the spirits leave the marbles behind to reassure their relatives that they are happy and content.
We got back to camp and just a couple hours later a fantastical rain and wind storm hit. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.