John, Karl and myself completed a four day foray into the Kanab Creek Wilderness and it was prettty spectacular. We began our modest trek via the far lengthier Hack Canyon approach, as winter weather had access via Sowats Point out of the question.
Day one was reserved for getting to our base camp at the junctions of Jumpup Canyon and Kanab Creek. It was a 15 mile day, but the lack of AEG and long stretches of nice trail along the benches of the creek made for quick hiking. Apart from what appeared to be a perennial stretch along Kanab Creek the hike in was very dry. In fact, there was no water a camp and we had to filter water from some left over pot holes a few tenths of a mile from camp. We knew rain was coming from the time we set up camp, so we ate our dinner a little sooner than usual. Around seven, the rain chased John and I to our tents for an early night, but Karl endured a little longer. It never really rained hard throughout the night, but there was a pretty steady light period of rain after midnight that lasted for a couple of hours, but nothing to make anything too uncomfortable.
Day two was a trip up to the Jumpup “obstacle” via Jump Canyon and Lower Jumpup Canyon. This route was a tad heavy on the boulder hopping, but big on the reward side. There was an awesome narrows secttion reminiscent of Buckskin along with some dramatic stretches with towering walls through Jumpup Canyon. Eventually the narrows relented to the much more open lower Jumpup Canyon, which was a real treat. There was flowing water, countless cascades and small waterfalls topped off by some excellent views of a snow dusted rim in the distance. I got an itch to explore a cave about a half a mile from the “obstacle,” so I let John and Karl explore that while I checked out the cave. The cave was a dud for prehistory, but offered some cool views. After meeting back up, we headed down to Indian Hollow. We held off on exploring Kwagunut and Sowats in order to save more time on what looked like a promising Indian Hollow. The beginning of Indian Hollow proved worthy with a short but spectacular little slot section, however, the excitement quickly wore off when we reached an impassable chockstone not too far in. A little disappointed, we turned around there and headed back to camp with modest plans to explore an unnamed canyon downstream of camp. The unnamed canyon proved to be a little bit of a dud, but nobody was complaining after the first rate hike up Jumpup earlier in the day.
Showerbath Spring and maybe a peak in Scotty’s Hollow was the goal of day three. Kanab Creek becomes a whole different world one you hit the stretch when it begins to flow above the surface and although it was a boukder hop, the hike to Showerbath was pleasant. Showerbath itself is also a pretty cool destination, complete with some nice deep swimming holes occupied by some rather large and unexpected fish. John went back to camp from Showerbath, while Karl and I headed further downstream to Scotty’s Hollow. This proved to be a worthy side trip, as we both left Scotty’s Hollow very impressed. A scenic little waterfall and grotto greets your entry into this special canyon and it just get better with each step further up canyon. We turned around at the “swimmer” as we were not planning on getting wet and we knew we still had a six mile camp relocation to complete once we got back to camp. The hike back up stream was boulders for days and a little redundant at times, but we still made decent time. Once we got back to camp, it was a quick breakdown and then back on the trail to set up camp six miles closer to the trailhead along a flowing stretch of Kanab Creek.
Day four was just a brisk 8.5 mile hike back to the trailhead. The recent snow had made some of the views in the distance nicer, but the last stretch to the Hack Canyon trailhead was certainly a little more mundane than the previous stretches from the days before.