I just finished teaching another course for Utah Valley University. It was the basic backpacking course which I never tire of teaching. This class was fantastic and it showed while on the mandatory trip.
I chose an aggressive and rugged loop in the San Rafael Swell. We wanted to see how difficult the pass between upper Virgin Springs Canyon and Upper Canes Wash was. I nearly had a dozen heart attacks while going up and down the pass due to the gnarly conditions. Considering that half the class had never been backpacking before and there we were lowering packs down cliffs with a 1000 foot precipice awaiting a misstep was a wee bit scary. The class seemed unfazed and we finished the 18 mile trip with nothing but smiles.
The exact route lead us from the San Rafael River campground along the south side of the San Rafael River to the mouth of Canes Wash, over the Wedge to a most beautiful pictograph panel, through what is known as the Little Grand Canyon to the mouth of Virgin Springs Canyons, up the left fork of Virgin Springs Canyon, up and over an unnamed pass (very rough you will probably want a 40 ft rope and lots of slickrock backpacking experience), then finally up Upper Cane Wash. We took two cars and did an 8 mile shuttle. Another epic backpacking trip with a great group of students!
This weekend......R2R2R of the real Grand Canyon. 48 miles...one day. Should be a great time.