Every year, for Courtney’s birthday, I try to plan something special. The first year in Utah, we went down to Zion National Park. Last year, we went down to Moab and rented a Side-by-side. This year, we headed down to the desert once again, to the tiny town of Kanab. Smaller than the bustling oasis of Moab, but full of adventure! And that, we found a ton!
Saturday morning, we got up early to go sandboarding at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park just outside of town. Yes, you read that right, sandboarding. The drive in was nothing short of spectacular. The sweeping Sand Dunes on the mountainside looked like ski slopes. Once we reached the ranger station, we showed him our state park pass, and then went into the station to rent a sandboard and a sled. Similar to a snowboard and a winter sled, these variations are made from solid wood with a “frictionless” laminate base which allows them to glide effortlessly over the sand. And did they ever!
We hiked out to the dunes from the parking lot, only to be amazed that something like this could exist in the middle of a landlocked state like Utah. Rolling hills made entirely from sand. And by the looks of it, we were going to have it all to ourselves. So we wandered our way to the top of the main, largest dune and gave it a shot! Needless to say, the brochure makes this look way easier than it was. The learning curve was steep, but so awesome.
We boarded and sledded down the slopes all morning. Over and over again we dropped in to the steep lines, tried to hang on best we could before inevitably crashing or sliding out in the sand. Then Gregor would run down and chase after us. Unlike a ski resort, you have to hike back up the hill, making it feel more like the local sledding hill we frequented every winter as a kid. I will say, the sled was way more fun! Very little effort, and a whole lot of speed! That is, if you put the proper amount of wax on the base before your run.
What I foolishly didn’t expect, was how much sand I would end up ingesting by the end of the day. Every fall resulted in a face, ear, and mouth-full of sand. But it was all worth it, even if I still have some in my ears.
After an exhausting morning at the dunes, we headed out for some more fun in the sand. This time, we drove east to check out Peak-a-boo slot Canyon. This Canyon is truly in the middle of nowhere, only accessible by desert 4×4 roads. So to get there, you either need to trudge the 7miles round trip in the soft sand, or take your vehicle down the rutted out service road. Luckily, we had Court’s Jeep, put it in 4WD and drove us most of the way. We then got out to make somewhat of a hike to the slot canyon to enjoy the sunny weather.
Arriving at the mouth of the canyon, it feels like you’re walking into a secret canyon in an Indiana Jones movie. The recent snowfall added a layer of mystique and quieted the sounds that normally reverberate off the sandstone walls. After walking a few yards into the empty slot canyon, it felt like we had been transformed to another world. Completely engulfed in twisted walls that stood 40ft above us, in shades of red that can only be found in Utah. We wondered in amazement as we passed through this wild place, taking photos of everything we could.
The first section of the slot canyon ends in just over 100 yards, but fear not, there is a second section just up the trail. And that section is even more wild. Eventually, after a short while longer, you reach the disappointing, but true end of the canyon. If only it lasted longer, but even though it was short, it was still incredible. Dare I say the most rewarding slot canyon we’ve been in. Not too narrow, not too wide, not too difficult to reach, and not too difficult to navigate. And some of the wildest shapes in any slot canyon I’ve ever been in.
Even though we were only in Kanab for a weekend, it was easy to see that there is just so much to do and explore there. Sure, there isn’t nearly as much climbing or biking as Moab, but there was still so much to see and do. Plus, on our way back home, we stopped just off the road to check out legitimate, fossilized dinosaur tracks.
Hi there, my name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.