Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'll take the Subway thanks!

This lasts weeks adventure found us in a very exciting situations that are tough to put into words, although one will do there best. We both had the day off with our two friends Bryce and Heidi, the other couple up here doing an internship. We decided to bypass the regular hikes offered in Zion NP and go for something a little more adventurous and challenging! We took on "The Subway!"

Our day started very early at 5:30 in the a.m. being packed, loaded and on the road by 6:00. We wanted to leave early to ensure the possibility of getting our permit into the backcountry. It was quite the beautiful drive down the canyon, everything lit up by the full moon offered an amazing sight to behold.

Once we arrived to the backcountry office, we were glad to find that only one other person was waiting in line. Our original plan was to be at the office at 5:30 which would have resulted in a much more tiresome day.

The hike begins: After driving some distance to a northern part of the park near the Kolob Canyon area, we finally arrived at the trailhead and got trekking around 9:00. A rather comfortable stroll on an easily identified trail... that was all about to end. The hike works you into it slowly and tests your ability to continue. After the first mile you enter into the "hopefully you can find your way" zone. As we hiked over incredible rock that the weather as shaped into a form that resembles ripples on an ocean giong one way then changing instantly to another direction, we were challenged to find our way on an unmarked path looking for stacks of rocks that act as the trail guidelines. Luckily Bryce had been before and roughly new which way we were to go. Five french hikers were not so lucky. We saw them in front of us and then we saw them coming back towards us in a lost effort. They asked where the trail goes but did not take the advice. We saw them go down a canyon that did not lead to the subway at all... that was the last we saw of them.

We came to a point of climbing down the canyon after steep climbs up. After four hours of hiking through the tough terrain, and taking some amazing pictures and enjoying the views, we were almost halfway.

The ground started to become moist as pools of water made it apparent that a river once flowed where we were as we continued on and the challenges became more difficult. Having to climb down steep rocks using only a rope to hold on to for about 30 to 40 feet provided great pictures, sore hands, and experiences to last forever.

The Water: The point came where there was no way out but through, and through meant getting very wet and very cold. We started with ankles, letting our bodies absorb the chill that was about to take over each of us. Up to the waist was next with the biting frigid water soaking into our clothing and knawing at our skin. The last and most chilling part was the leap of faith into water with an unknown depth. Screams of the body freezing were heard as each of us jump into the water under a waterfall having to swim 50 to 70 feet with our packs on. Once out, we were closely followed by two men in wetsuits who seemed to tolerate the water much better. But who needs wetsuits.

We thought we were good once we were out of the water but soon realized that there was no sun in this slot canyon for about the next 1/2 mile. Thank goodness for quickdrying clothing, once we found the sunlight we soaked it in as if we hadn't seen it for days, being that cold it felt like days. We came around a large bend in the canyon and came upon a beautiful waterfall that soon would be the cause of slowing us down. In order to continue on the hike, one must cross the waterfall on a very narrow ledge, and cross we did. Bryce was not so lucky as he jumped on to the rock slipping in the loose sand and slid about 5 feet crushing his foot into a crack of the rock and rolling his ankle. After seeing that, we were very cautios while crossing. After a bit of first aid and making sure nothing we was broken, we were off again... just at a slower pace. We came to the opening of "The Subway" and enjoyed its granduer... all 200 feet of it or so. We were now about five hours into what ended up as a nine hour hike.

The River: We found ourselves wading through the river that was larger and warmer. Getting wet at this point was well accepted and comfortable. We followed the river down stream for what seemed to be an eternity. We found ways to keep ourselves entertained by sliding down natural rock waterslides and seeing wildlife. After 3 1/2 hour hike through the river, we found the glorious sign of a boot print indicating the trail out. This energy was soon thwarted by the hike straight up the mountain with dizzying heights and steep cliffs that made it seem it could be the older brother of Angels Landing. A half hour climb led us to the top of the canyon enabling us to turn around and see what we had just accomplished in nine hours. The conversation on the way to the car was a resounding cheer of how incredible of an experience "The Subway" was.

Our First Jump In

Rock Slides... With a bump at the end (apparently Bryce feels the pain as well)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Summer Lovin'. Having a BLAST!

We have had quite the adventurous summer this year! We were able to take some courses through the U of U the ensured a summer of camping and hiking. The first class we took togehter was Canyoneering. We went down to some slot canyons near Lake Powell where we rapelled, hiked, and Scott even carried Carynn through 3 feet of stagnant water on his shoulders.

The second class we took was a backpacking and fly fishing class. We hiked about 2 miles up the Uintas to a small river. It was Carynn's first time backpacking and Scott's first time fly fishing. You can tell from the picture above he was an immediate pro!

To add to our fun summer, we also spent a week in Durango, CO. with Carynn's family. We went horseback riding, hiking, river rafting, and of course, we went to the Bar-D Chuckwagon!! We had a family foose-ball tournament and Scott came in 2nd place.

Scott's Family recently came down to visit us here at ZPR. We had fun playing host and hostess and planning all the activities. One of the highlights of their visit was going into the park and hiking Angel's Landing. It was Carynn's first time on the hike and it was a truely unforgettable experience (especially thanks to Katie and Tyler for making it so)!

It has been a wonderful summer so far and we plan on it continuing that way. Our goal before we move home is to hike every trial in Zion's.

So stay posted for more stories of our adventures!