July 15, 2007

Secret Canyon

My neighbour and I went out the other night so he could show me a place he thought would be good for a geocache. It has a name, but it's a little-known spot, not too far from Whitehorse, and I'm guessing that the rock climbers who use it like to keep it that way, so I'm not going to name it here. I'll just refer to it as "the Secret Canyon".

The Secret Canyon. It's around here somewhere.

The Secret Canyon is, without a doubt, prime climbing. The faces are generally clean and there are, literally, hundreds of climbs with everything you could hope for: chimneys, cracks, overhangs, sheer walls, lead climbing and top-roping opportunities. When I first saw it, I started drooling. Unfortunately, because the weather wasn't great and it was already getting late, I didn't get to see much of it.

My first glimpse of the secret canyon.

Resolved to return, I headed out again later that week with Eric who was looking for a hiking partner for the day. Originally we were thinking of going to Mount Lorne or out to Kusawa Lake, but I had time constraints so neither were really options. Fortunately, the hike to the secret canyon was.

The way in was a little too wet for Eric's little car, so we had to walk along the road. I'm not complaining about this, because, if we hadn't had to walk along the road, we would have missed the wild strawberries. Mmmm...wild strawberries. Compared to the little, tiny wild strawberries, the big store-bought ones taste like...wood.

When we got to the canyon, I couldn't believe how long it was. There were more climbs than I ever imagined, on both sides of the canyon walls, and it seemed like there was no way out other than up the cliffs. We kept hiking up the canyon, to see how far it went. Thinking it might keep going, we took our first, and thus far, only, opportunity to hike up and out of the canyon.

Eric and Luna.

It's climb after climb...

...after climb after climb.

On the way up, I stopped to examine a couple of the cliff faces. In one crack, I found a rather odd arrangement of bones. Unless someone stuck them there intentionally, the only reason I can think of for their placement is that a bird (a raven, perhaps) was trying to get something in the crack and got its beak stuck. What a way to go.

What is that, wedged in the crack?

Is that a bird skull? How did it get in there?

At some point, I clapped, and a quick little echo bounded off the far wall. There was only one echo, and it wouldn't do it for anything shorter than a snap or a clap. With a little bit of creative clapping, we were able to get a pretty good beat going.

A good spot for echoes.

The higher we went out of the canyon, the better the views got, but the less we could see of the canyon itself. In fact, if we hadn't known it was there, it would seem like there was no canyon below us at all.

After we made it to the top, we took in the views and had a little rest. We decided to not hike back down the way we had come, and took our chances by walking out along the top of the canyon. In a sense, we were walking along a ridge, since there were other, smaller, canyons that appeared as we went, but we found our way out and made it back within our allotted time.

I'll be back to the Secret Canyon, but next time, it'll be to do some climbing.

Hike a little higher, and you wouldn't even know the canyon was there.

1 comment:

sattvicwarrior said...

beautiful and mystical shots