The Maze

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RyanP

Formerly bob32
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Thread starter #21
Now I'm worried about the no-see-ums; I've never had to deal with these before. Any tips? I'm assuming long sleeves/pants and a headnet will help, and to be willing to camp away from water if needs be? Does DEET or any other chemical work with them?

Vegan.Hiker---Thanks for the info. Yeah, I'm pretty paranoid about not finding water in the desert, so I asked here AND I called the ranger station---a couple of times---to get different rangers' input
 

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#22
Just checking, did you go? Did you find water in Water Canyon? Did you go up Water Canyon to the Chimney or did you take Shot Canyon?

I'm asking because I'd like to know how easy / difficult it would be to hike up Water Canyon.
 

RyanP

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Thread starter #23
No, my trip isn't for several more days. Unfortunately, my foot flared up today though (plantar fasciitis), so we'll see how this goes.

The rangers confirm that Water Canyon indeed currently has water. From what I've read, taking Water Canyon to Chimney Rock is much harder (more technical) than taking Shot Canyon. But I've also read that Water Canyon is very beautiful. I haven't been to either yet though.
 

RyanP

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Thread starter #24
I just got back from my trip and it was amazing! Thanks again all for the help planning the trip! Unfortunately I only have a couple of pictures (I left behind my spare phone battery and I wanted to preserve my phone battery for GPS usage) so I won't do a formal trip report, but here are some notes:

- We saw more people than I expected. We saw a lot of people between Spanish Bottom and the Doll House both on our way in and our way out, and we saw a handful of other groups each of our first two days out there. Not bad for a spectacular area in a national park, but I'm wondering if the legendary remoteness and solitude of the Maze is now contributing to less solitude there. Everyone was friendly and interesting and we got useful water conditions from some of the other backpackers, so I didn't mind that though. Interestingly, every group we saw accessed the Maze a different way---one group drove in and car camped, one took the jet boat in like us, one packrafted in from the needles, one hiked in via the North Canyon trail, one was doing a crazy long packrafting/hiking route, one canoed down the river and then hiked up Water Canyon, etc.

- There was water in Water Canyon, but not a lot. There was actually at least as much water in Shot Canyon. We didn't make it to the spring below the Maze overlook; we camped above the Harvest Scene where there was a small spring (more like a set of puddles at this point). There was a small amount of water (just puddles at this point) in the SE fork of pictograph canyon. Those last two water sources were the sketchiest that I have ever drank; I'm used to clear high alpine springs. I'm guessing they were pretty normal for desert backpacking, but we weren't used to it.

- The wind and blowing sand was brutal one of the evenings. I was worried about the temps (one day/night was 20 deg colder than the others), but the wind was so much harder to deal with. We got so much sand in our mouth/nose/eyes/ears, let alone our stuff. Again, I'm guessing this is all typical of desert backpacking, but it was a new challenge for us. How many times do I have to do stuff outdoors before I realize that wind is harder to deal with than cold temps?

- I thought the exit out of the SE branch of pictograph fork (to Chimney Rock) was more challenging than any of the other ascents/descents. If I were doing that solo, I probably would have used a rope to raise/lower my pack for that stretch. I was certainly happy to be going up that section instead of down. Overall, the climbs into and out of the canyons were fun and not too bad. You don't want to have a super heavy pack though.

- Our travel was slower than expected overall. The miles are more slow and difficult than what the topo map would suggest (if you are used to hiking in the mountains). We ended up skipping all the optional side trips (Maze Overlook, Confluence Overlook, etc.).

- The route was all surprisingly well-marked. I had expected that we would lose track of the cairns/route once or twice, but we never did.

- The Harvest Scene was definitely a highlight, and I'm glad I read here that you should see it in the morning or evening. We barely caught it before the sun covered the panel, making it practically invisible. The granaries by the Doll House were another highlight. I love the old ruins and rock art.

- The route was more consistently scenic than I imagined it would be. There were no bad parts. The canyon bottoms were just as spectacular as the high views. I only wish we had had another day to explore the canyons. This trip just solidified Canyonlands as my favorite national park (that I've visited yet anyway). My body is now back in the city and at work, but my mind is still wandering the Maze...
 
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#25
I just got back from my trip and it was amazing! My body is now back in the city and at work, but my mind is still wandering the Maze...
...Tell me about it.....
Glad it was a great trip! That does seem like a lot of people. Most of the parties we saw were on the Jeep road/camp system. Just the fact that there are always jeepers on the rim made the "Maze solitude mystic" seem really hyped. It actually kinda disappointed me. Especially when a ranger told us to be sure we didn't put a tent up on the canyon floor where we might disturb a jeep campers view! We held back what we were thinking in response to that ridiculous request. To be fair, solitude can certainly be found in the main fork of Horse Canyon and in the headwater forks of Range Canyon/Fins/Ernies. Even in side forks of the Maze proper, I suppose.
I found I get more solitude in the unnamed canyon systems in the Needles, but don't tell anyone! All that said, I plan a water trip down the Green to give more time for canyon exploration than what our long loop starting from North Trail Canyon Rim afforded us.
 
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#26
It actually kinda disappointed me. Especially when a ranger told us to be sure we didn't put a tent up on the canyon floor where we might disturb a jeep campers view! We held back what we were thinking in response to that ridiculous request.
A fair enough request if the jeepers can't be seen nor heard from the bottom of the canyon. (/sarc)
 

Stephanie B

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#27
Just checking, did you go? Did you find water in Water Canyon? Did you go up Water Canyon to the Chimney or did you take Shot Canyon?

I'm asking because I'd like to know how easy / difficult it would be to hike up Water Canyon.
My husband and I were in The Maze in the fall of 2017. We wanted to make a loop-hike by going down Shot (from Chimney Rock), cross over to Water, hike up Water and out near the starting point. I couldn't find any info on ascending out of Water but one of the rangers at Hans Flat said it was do-able but that there's definite exposure. She very much warned about descending into Water (from Chimney Rock) as the route is not cairned and you can get cliffed-out. Long story short we couldn't find a clear way out of Water. We scouted and scouted (and scouted!) from different approaches but couldn't find a way that we felt comfortable with. Where we thought we could get out wouldn't have involved any particularly technical moves, but a slip could easily have been fatal. So, we ended up retracing our steps and came back out of Shot. Here's our trip report from that outing.

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=14426
 

Nick

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#28
Kelsey describes the route out of Water and there have been pictures of the crux posted here in the past, I believe by @Kullaberg63.
 

Stephanie B

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#29
Kelsey describes the route out of Water and there have been pictures of the crux posted here in the past, I believe by @Kullaberg63.
Thanks, Nick. I don't have Kelsey's book on the Maze - probably because I have a really difficult time reading his books. Perhaps I'll reconsider.
 

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