We stopped at the Matkatamiba Canyon ("Matkat Canyon") this morning, all of four miles from camp, and just above a rapid/riffle, for this morning's hike. There were two ways to the stopping point, the dry way (which was described with lots of scrunched up faces and looks of disgust) or the fun way (which was described with lots of smiles and bouncing). The fun way would get you wet, sure, but it was more fun (better!) than the dry way, you should go that way, there may be some shimmying up the canyon walls, but that shouldn't be a problem for anyone.
So, I went the fun way, as did everyone else but one guide and one assistant.
We started hiking up a slot canyon, with little ridges on the sides. We were all in our hiking boots, with Kris trying to keep his dry. This was the first hike where we expected our boots to get wet, so we either had to accept they were getting wet, or hike in our sandals. After falling way behind the group, Kris gave up and just walked up the water like the rest of us did.
The first maneuver started below a small waterfall, maybe 3 feet tall, and required us to start out with our hands on the a canyon wall, and our feet on the opposite canyon wall, preferably at the same height as our feet. We then moved along up the canyon, shuffling our feet and hands until the canyon narrowed enough for a straddle. We then were walk up the canyon in an X, one hand and one foot on one side, the other hand and foot on the other side of the canyon, until we could put our butts on one side and our legs on the other side. We'd then butt shimmy up the canyon.
Well, that's what was supposed to happen. Didn't happen for me.
I couldn't get started with the face down walk up the canyon. I needed Sam to show me what to do, and help me place my hands, even though I had just watched another 15 people do the same maneuver.
When I managed to get to the butt shimmy part, I was leaning too far forward, trying to move to my right, with my feet on the opposite wall. My right foot slipped. I had all of my weight on my left foot, and felt that foot starting to slip. Kris was below me, with Sam just above me, and I couldn't get my right foot back on the wall. Incoherently, I started crying, "Help me! Help me!"
Sam reached down, grabbed a strap on the top of my backpack and lifted me up to the next level, where I could stand. Kris shimmied up next to me, and waited as I cried for a bit.
The next part was just a butt shimmy, but it ended in a X walk up another water cascade. I was able to shimmy to the cascade, but couldn't see how to shift over to the X. Josh, who was just above me at the top of the cascade offered to pull me up through the slime. I looked up at him as if he was a godsend, and accepted the offer of his arm.
Up through the slime I came, to the next level. Josh helped me through the final butt shimmy, with lots of great encouragement from Matt, Josh, Charly and Sam.
At the top, the trail met the dry path, with the rest of the hike on ledges. On the walk around, Sam let me know that the shoes I have are probably some of the worst to have in the Canyon, as the bottom isn't designed to stay grippy when wet. Great. I knew my shoes were bad, I just didn't realize how bad.
We continued walking and, once we came around a corner on the path to see this:
I knew I had been here before. Ten years ago, we had come up the dry path, instead of the wet path through the slot canyon. But, yes, I've been here before.