Well, it’s been monsoon season for about a month here at Canyonlands. The season runs from late July through September, and it has its pros and cons. For one, things have definitely cooled down (no more 100+ degree days, yay!), and all the gnats have been drowned by the rain (double yay!).
The downside of course, is that it rains relatively often. It’s rarely for long and seldom torrential, but it’s enough that it has put a serious damper on most of my favorite after-work activities. Hiking in the late afternoon is generally not a good idea (unless you want to be the tallest thing on a mesa-top during a lightning storm), and climbing is probably even worse (climbing giant rocks while covered in metal does not a good idea make). I’m feeling a bit slothy and out of shape, and am beginning to feel panicky that I’m already losing everything I’ve learned about climbing so far.
But it is cooler… most days… I guess.
Suffice it to say I’m looking forward to the desert going back to its more typical arid climate.
Other than staying indoors though, monsoon season doesn’t usually change life on the Island dramatically. Except for one day last week that is, when a MAJOR monsoon came through. There was flash-flooding all over the park (one that even caused the highest waterfall in the state of Utah, if only for an hour), all the roads and trails were completely washed out, we had several visitors stranded in the backcountry, and the visitor center flooded. On top of all of this my boyfriend was on a 5-day river patrol when this happened, and was scheduled to run Cataract Canyon – home to some of the most intense rapids in the world – on the day of the storm. Those rapids are dangerous on a normal day, but with a 6ft swell headed down the river in their direction… well, let’s just say, everyone was holding their breath and glued to the radio for the majority of the afternoon. Luckily, they made it okay, and there were no serious injuries or accidents during the storm – which is a huge testament to our amazing staff of incredibly skilled backcountry and LE rangers.
There was a lot of chaos though, and things got so wild I had to take out my camera and film bits of it. You can see a combined video of the footage here: