The Wave & Vermillion Cliffs Adventure

The Wave & Vermillion Cliffs Adventure

After months of convincing I finally got Chandler to believe me… or at least entertain the thought that winter camping is really not as bad as it sounds. So we made the decision to abandon our wives and spend a weekend in the Kanab area the first weekend of February. As for what we will do there, the plan was kind of up in the air. There are MANY things to do around Kanab, but there has been one thing that I have been trying to do for a few years now. Winning the lottery to go see the Wave. The Wave is a spectacular sandstone formation located on the border of Utah and Arizona. You have probably heard of or at least seen photos of before. The catch is BLM only allows 20 people per day receive permits to go hike to it (10 in an online lottery, and 10 at the walk in lottery). It is a landscape photographer’s playground and I have had my eyes on it for YEARS.
Initially we thought we wouldn’t even have a chance to land a permit since the government was shut down up until the week before our trip. Lucky for us our elected leaders finally got their collective shit together and reopened the government. Now our trip plan was to try and get walk in lottery permits for Saturday or Sunday since they were drawing for the whole weekend Friday morning. It was also Superbowl weekend and the weather looked poor so we had hoped that would help our chances to win even more. We drove down Thursday night and camped out near Coral Pink Sand Dunes so we could wake up early to get breakfast in town before the lottery.
Quick note about the lottery: there are two different permits for the area around The Wave called Coyote Buttes. There is a lottery for the North where The Wave is located and a permit for the South where other geological wonders are located. We hoped we could at least get one of these permits for the weekend.
As we sat around waiting for the lottery we nervously waited as the room gradually filled beyond capacity, I don’t think the Superbowl was really helping our chances. Before drawing the lottery the BLM workers made sure to thoroughly explain how the road would likely be impassible this weekend even with 4x4. The forecast wasn’t good for Saturday and it was even worse for Sunday. They drew Saturday’s winners and after that many people opted out of the lottery knowing they wouldn’t even have a chance making it down the road on Sunday. We got lucky and they drew our number second to last so we had our North lottery permit for Sunday! YES!
We sat in the room afterwards for trail instructions while the ranger tried to explain to many seemingly unprepared new permit winners the difficulty that would be getting to The Wave. This took so much time we missed the drawing for the other lottery. But I guess that didn’t matter because there were not enough applicants for a lottery to even be necessary so they issued us a South permit for Saturday! The stars were aligning so far but the weather was the next obstacle in our way. Because the weather was clear that day we decided we could drive in to White Pocket and work our way out so if the road was horrible we would at least be trapped in a way that our chances to making it to The Wave would be better. On our way out we made a side stop at a seldom known place I had heard about recently which was incredible on its own.


Chan & I then made the long drive out to White Pocket which would be our home for the night. White Pocket is a playground of its own filled with crazy sandstone formations. I played around with some astro photography until my brain decided to start thinking about skinwalkers. I noped back to camp from the moonless ice cream swirlscape that White Pocket was that evening. Honestly the place is a little creepy when its pitch black out. Oh yeah, Chandler made a paracord net for his water bottle that came in handy later.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.