Zion National Park – Hiking the Narrows and Canyoneering

Kim and I took a week’s vacation to Zion National Park  to spend some time exploring the canyons there. A late start out of work Friday turned into a late night drive. We arrived at the park early saturday, picked up our permit and met our shuttle for the drive up to the start of the famous Narrows hike.

 

Narrows – Saturday and Sunday –
Although just 16 miles long, and doable in a long day, Kim and I scored one of the hard to get permits for the Narrows campsites, so we’d be doing it in two. A shuttle dropped of us at the top of the canyon, outside the park. Here, the canyon is wide and the creek is merely a trickle. We shouldered our packs and started hiking. It wasn’t long before we’d do the first of many, many, many creek crossing, and long sections where we hiked in the river bed. The water was cool to cold, but felt OK in the hot summer air. It was mostly calf to thigh deep, occasionally waist deep, and on one or two occasions, we swam short sections too deep to stand. The canyon rapidly got deeper, and it was soon clear why the canyon is so famous. Stunning, breathtakingly gorgeous. We had a very private campground, and slept in Sunday morning.

The hike sunday was even prettier. We took our time, and got to camp and met our freinds late sunday evening.

Monday- We joined our group, Jerry, Mark and Mike, for a one day canyoneering class. It was mostly about rappelling, knots, and anchors, so there was little new information for me, but Kim learned some and it was good review. We did some short canyon sections, set anchors, and got to work together a bit as a group.

Tuesday was Pine Creek Canyon. It felt a bit strange to be putting on a drysuit in the steaming hot parking lot, but things cooled rapidly as we hiked into the steep canyon. The first rappel ended in an ice cold pool of water, too deep to stand, and I was happy to have the drysuit, though I probably would have been ok in a wetsuit. I pulled the first rappel rope while floating, something I’d never done before. I’m not enough of a wordsmith to describe the beauty of the canyons well, so please check out the photos. Pine creek had a number of long rappels, a few interesting downclimbs, and a long rugged hike out. Mostly it was gorgeous and interesting to explore.

Weds, Kim and I planned to explore Keyhole canyon. As we drove from the campground, we noticed the car was behaving very strangely. Uh oh. we elected to go to the canyon anyway. Keyhole is short, and technically not very hard, with only a couple short rappels, but was probably the prettiest canyon we saw, and had some cool long swims and very tight canyons.

Once we finished we decided to head to St. George and have the car looked at. Ate some lunch and got the call from the Mechanic that apparently some squirrels had decided to snack on our wiring harness! Damn rodents! Hearing that our car wouldn’t be ready untill the next morning, we got a hotel room, showered, ate, ate ice cream, and slept in blissfull air-conditioning.

Thursday, We slept in, picked up the car, ate lunch, and headed up to Zion. It was too late to start into a canyon, so we rented bikes and rode the valley floor road. Since it’s closed to traffic, other than the shuttle buses, it’s incredibly scenic and low stress. We put the bike on the shuttle, and rode back to camp, then repeated. With a stop for ice cream. Super relaxed and nice.

Friday we hiked into the seldom explored Jolley Gulch. A hike, then a couple of long rappels into a vey pretty dry canyon, then a bit of a hike out. Pretty, and fairly easy really.
A long drive home and back to the real world.

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1 Comment

  1. Great pictures!!! Look like an amazing trip. We went to Zoin earlier this summer, but we were only there a day and didn’t make it back into the really cool stuff.

    Bobcat? Looks more canine than feline to me. Pads look to long and the claws to exposed for bobcat.

    Keep doing what you do, because life is only boring if let it be.

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