Friday, October 29, 2021

Photo Friday: Zebra and Tunnel Slots

I know I reported on Zebra last year, but this time I managed to get a phone, at least, up into the good stuff. And before anyone asks: we checked forecasts and did some serious visual scans of the drainage area for the slot before going in.

Here's the scoop:
We are still in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and in fact only a few miles from the Golden Cathedral, which I reported on last week.

The full Zebra-Tunnel loop is somewhere in the 6-mile range, but there's not much climbing, as Harris Wash at that point hasn't dropped much below the level of the road. Zebra is a very tight slot, not for the claustrophobic! Tunnel slot is easy, though accessing the top end involved a little scrambling.

As usual, an early start to beat the heat.

Zooming in to admire the cross-bedding in the sandstone

The mouth of the slot, and the first hint that the rains that left a lot of mud down along the Escalante might not have all drained off here.

We sent the tallest guy in first. 

The next-tallest.

The slot got too narrow at the bottom, so we had to wedge the feet and sidle along.

After a couple of tricky moves, we reached the heart of the slot.

This wall--rising beyond a pool of unknown depth--made a definitive end to our explorations.

Back to light and warmth

Never saw anything quite like this.

These iron-based accretions have eroded from the sandstone. Some research by our companion (thanks, Zeke!) revealed they are known as "Moqui Marbles". There were thousands of them on the way between the two canyons.

More fun textures along the way.

Water-polished stripes

Tunnel slot. Close enough to a real tunnel, if not complete (for the life of me, I can't recall if I actually checked!).

 Emerging into the world.

And then a 2 1/2 mile hike back to the car, and off to town for lunch!


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