Red Canyon is only 15 miles from its more famous colleague, Bryce Canyon. Few stop there as they want to get to Bryce.
It is equally amazing and, on a freezing December day, deserted.
I decide to go for a little stroll to stretch my legs. The path leads up towards the remarkable rock formations. I follow it into a gully expecting it to lead to the plateau allowing views over the canyon. The trail becomes increasingly indistinct mainly because of the snow. I find myself at the bottom of a steep shale climb but the plateau is on 30 meters up so I decide to go on. Big mistake!
Half way up I realize the one slip and I will tumble down and do myself a lot of damage. I place each foot only after digging out a little platform in the shale. I am scared. I have a couple of slips but avoid sliding. I am panting. I do get to the plateau but I have to spend several minutes to recompose myself.
I look around for the footprints that I expect to indicate the way down. There are none. I realize that my little plateau is by no means the top of the canyon and start a long and very exhausting climb. There are no human prints but the snow is covered in Bear prints. I have not seen a soul since starting out.
I finally reach the top after about 2 hours. I can only see one obvious gully that appears to lead back to the road but its head is about another 4 miles distant. There are several closer, smaller ravines that lead into the main gully but they are full of snow and there are no foot prints leading into them.
So I head down one of these. Snow up to my knees at times, I flounder down the gulch. I worry that I will come across a slope that is too steep and I will have to climb back up. Hmmm, not good as I am tired and my gloveless hands are frozen.
After many crashes into the snow I emerge into the wider gully that I had seen from the top. I walk down and finally see a human footprint. Such happiness. I get back to the truck 4 hours after I had set off for my little stroll. I am exhausted but elated. Phew!
On to Bryce Canyon, so different! The place is swarming with people principally busloads of Chinese tourists. The Government shutdown results in all campgrounds closed and only main viewing point open. I stay 15 minutes.
I head off to Toroweep on the Grand Canyon.