"Cursed Cow Canyon"

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I first came across this slot canyon in 2020 while looking over google earth satellite images. I was looking for anything interesting to explore when I came across what looked to be a small slot canyon, notable only for its short length and drab, beige color. I pinned it on my map and then quickly forgot about it. Fast forward to last month, I was forwarded a video on YouTube with a young man exploring a yellow / beige slot canyon. As it turns out, this was the exact canyon I stumbled upon two years ago. Further research led me to a hiker who named the canyon back in 2006 while traversing the Hayduke Trail. For the sake of preservation, I won’t be using the name he gave the canyon.


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The drive out to the canyon is actually quite easy and took just over 2 hours from Kanab. Because there are no signs to this canyon, I parked my rig where I thought seemed closest and followed a wash downstream. Along the walk I encountered a well preserved cow skeleton and picked up the skull to potentially use as a prop inside. Just a half mile later, a crack appeared in the ground and I was face to face with the unnamed slot.


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Descending required a little down climbing, but nothing too difficult. Once inside, I was treated to a beautiful chamber of golden light, sculpted walls and several logs, jammed against the sides from previous floods. There was even a light beam at the entrance!


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Shortly after entering, a strange feeling crept up over me. While I’m not a superstitious person, I couldn’t help but be unnerved. Perhaps it was the dust in the air, or carrying a cow skull around, or just being in the middle of nowhere by myself, but something definitely felt off. I was making jokes to myself to keep calm, and came up with a new name, Cursed Cow Canyon. The unnerving sensation was getting worse, so I quickly snapped a few photos and climbed out, placing the cow skull back along the wash.

Photography wise, “CCC” was quite a scenic canyon, with many curves and nicely sculpted walls. Even though I was in the canyon at mid-day, the lighting wasn’t too harsh and actually made the walls glow. Like most slots, bracketing is essential, but it was easy enough to avoid any direct light which can cause flares. The biggest draw for any photographer would be the log jams which provide a nice focal point or add visual interest to the canyon. Overall this was a very exciting slot, if not a little too short (Just 400 ft.) and well worth the adventure.


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