Egypt 3

Glen Lewis

This is a wild, miles-long slot canyon. The beginning of Egypt 3 is an unassuming dry wash that crosses the Egypt road about a mile back from the Egypt trailhead. You follow it for about a quarter mile and all of a sudden you come to the damn Grand Canyon. Well maybe not the real Grand Canyon but the sudden vast opening and the sheer drop will stop you in your tracks. From here you must go left of the wash and continue on till you come to a big side canyon. You donít go up that canyon. The way down is close by Egypt 3. It is a steep pitch of slickrock that is populated by big rectangular boulders. This is where you pick your way down to the feeder canyon. The last 20 feet is a doosie so be forewarned. The side canyon is a pretty cool little slot in its own right but we ran into obstacles like a sheer 10 foot down section into a pool at the bottom. That is when we decided to go back up and cross the feeder, following the slickrock down into Egypt 3.

We went in a ways but soon found many steep down sections with pools at the bottom. We were having to work together to get anywhere and soon it became obvious that this is a canyon for good rock climbers or at least a good guide. The narrow places were so narrow with big drops that it became too serious for us to continue. Back out we went, again working together in some of the tough sections. You are all alone in this isolated place so any problems can become big problems. A good rock climber would do just fine though. As we came to one particularly scary and difficult place, I was able to upclimb without my pack but had to come back over a really difficult place for me. I had to not only retrieve my pack, I had to retrieve Linda as well. I took her pack and then she used her extra long legs to bridge up as far as she could. I anchored myself and grabbed her around the torso and hauled her up to me. Now we were both sitting on an angled-down ramp that was none too appealing. I got up and went back over the bad place that Linda floated over. In places she would help push me up and I would pull her up. We soon came to the point of exhaustion from this process so when we made it back into the sun and onto vast slickrock we were both somewhat relieved. We continued to explore downstream in search of other ways into the canyon further down and saw that it just went deeper and deeper into the earth.

On our way back out we ran across a couple from San Francisco. Again the guy was all gung ho and the girl more careful in her thinking just as in our case. It was as if they were both relieved to see that people still existed in this world. They sort of clung to us as long as we stayed there. There was a strong connection. She was Native American, the peoples I grew up with. We did see them again later on and they went just as far as we did and turned back around as well. Good choice I think. We again talked close together for some time.

We took to the vast slickrock from there and traveled its amazing contours, almost taking flight into this magic place. The angles were steep. The exhilaration was immense. We did this for hours, up and down, across and around.

The next day we put Tunnel slot in our sights. It is back up Hole-in-the-Rock road where you generally follow the Halfway Hollow drainage to Harris wash and then go downstream. It was a little tough to find since we underestimated our speed in the sand and overshot it. Realizing what we had done, after a small meal we journeyed back upstream to the beginning and went up Tunnel wash until we saw the rockfall at the mouth of the narrow slot that was enclosed in the sandstone.

We peered down in. It was full of water that, as warned, could be up to nose deep. It was dark and somewhat spooky but Linda was into her sandals and navigating the unknown before I could even ready my camera gear for the crossing. She was really into her element out here. The numbing, ice cold, dark waters proved to be no more than just above the knees. The bottom was soft and she told me if I stayed in one place I would begin to sink. This proved true: quicksand in a dark tunnel slot.

We made it out and soon were on our way on up Tunnel which never became real narrow again but ranged from maybe 10 feet in most of it to a couple of feet wide up near the top. Every once in a while we found a strange kind of little round rock the size of a big marble. Some were shaped like spaceships, pure black.

She wanted to find another way out in her adventurous way. Well she did. We went up over some more, steep slickrock and onto a really big flat topped area of slickrock. To our amazement there were billions of the back marbles and spaceships we found on the floor of Tunnel in places. They were arranged in shapes and lines. There were also vast fields of them. Some of the lines in single file were really long. Neither of us had ever seen anything like it. Whereas we put a few down in the canyon floor into our pockets we left every single one up on top of this slickrock undisturbed. We carefully stepped around them and traveled through some really wild formations on our compass bearing back to the mouth of Halfway Hollow.

The low sun angle backlit the wildflowers on our way out ending another perfect day in this maze of delights.

This is the land of slot canyons and vast slickrock where sights un-beheld by human eyes at least in the last few centuries await discovery.


©2004 Glen Lewis

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