The Wave, UT, USA


27 November 2018

TIME: 8 Hours 55 Minutes

I titled this post "The Wave", but I'm really going to be talking about North Coyote Buttes as a whole and also about a nearby lesser-known feature called White Pocket. The former is a world-famous site and requires a permit that is notoriously difficult to get while the latter is much more difficult to get to but requires no permit at all.

Mallory and I attended two drawings for Wave permits. The first time we went was the day after Thanksgiving. We thought we'd have a better chance because it was the day after a major holiday and because they draw for three days on Fridays. The visitor center isn't open on weekends, so they draw for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on Friday. That meant that instead of 10 permits, there were 30 permits available. We liked our odds until we saw the full overflow parking. The way it works is that each party submits a single application with each member's name listed on it. One application per party. If you cheat, you're disqualified. Well there were 145 applications representing 398 hopefuls, which tied the all-time record for applicants in a single drawing. Ten individual permits are awarded per day, so if a party of six is drawn, then another party of six. The second party of six can only send four members. If they're unwilling to do that, then they pass and those four permits remain available. Friday was a shitshow. I really had no desire to deal with that fiasco more than a few times. We went in yesterday and were pleasantly surprised to find just 34 applications representing a reasonable 70 people. Though there were only 10 permits available yesterday, our odds were considerably higher, nevermind that the process was far less stressful. We were the first number drawn, and that was that. Since they always do the drawing for the following day, we had the rest of yesterday to research the area and come up with our game plan.

There wasn't much point to getting a pre-dawn start, since the best light at Coyote Buttes North tends to be better between late morning and late afternoon. We car camped in Kanab last night and enjoyed a cup of coffee and indoor plumbing before heading for the trailhead. We began the short trek a few minutes after 0900.

[More content and images to come for this post.]