I was surprised and happy to get one of 10 available hiking permits available through an in-person lottery for the famous day hike in southern Utah known as The Wave.
I slept in my car at the BLM (not BoweL Movement, rather Bureau of Land Management) office that distributes hiking permits so I would not miss the 8:30AM random draw.
Surprisingly, there were only 9 hikers there for 10 permits. Score! (Some days 50 apply for the 10 spots.)
The SW USA is one of the very best hiking destinations in the world â€” unless it rains. Flooding, even drowning, is a severe risk in arid slot canyons.
the morning-of-the-hike sky
It did not look good. But I decided come Hell or High Water, I would hike The Wave.
At 2:30PM the drizzle seemed to abate. I jumped in the car and sped to the trailhead, now short of time to finish the 6mi (9.7km) return trip by dark. On the other hand, I felt the best photos would be available in the dying light.
Of the 10 essentials I carried only the 11th â€” a can of Diet Coke.
Jogging the slip rock (no real trail) and attempting to short-cut, I quickly became lost. Easy to do in this part of the world.
When I finally got to The Wave, I was very happy to bump into some other hikers who had braved the rain and hail. Included was the Mountain Artist, Elizabeth Wiltzen, who has seen her share of misadventure in the wilderness. She worked many years for a heli-skiing outfit in Banff. Needless to say, she want not much impressed with my preparedness as a hiker.
How was The Wave?
Fantastic. Well worth the hassle. The unusual sandstone formation is wonderful from every direction.
larger image – Wikipedia
There is a “second Wave” and other terrific geology nearby. The more time you have, the better.
27 Wave photos – Flickr
I hiked back with several others arriving at the trailhead parking lot right at dark. Doh! In my rush to get here I had forgotten to fuel the vehicle. Others had to follow me to the closest service station. I rolled in on fumes.
If you want to be better prepared than I, check details on how to get to The Wave – besthike.com