Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Subway, From the Bottom, Zion NP

The weather in Zion NP called for highs in the 40's and lows in the 20's with several inches of snowfall. But this was the weekend were were finally able to procure permits to hike the Subway, a world famous technical canyon. We spent all week trying to convince our group of nine people that the weather would not be a problem. Thick wetsuits and warm sleeping bags solve all problems! However as the week went on noses started running, babies were being born, and fear of the cold settled into the Arizona crew.  Our group size slowly dwindled down to only Erik and I.  We went to sleep Thursday night extremely discouraged having decided not to go anymore, but we both woke up Friday morning determined to make it happen, so the two of us packed our warmest and headed to Zion.
Weather was mild as we set up camp and spend the evening exploring the Emerald Pools trail in Zion. We got to bed early, hoping we could find a way to make the Subway happen the next day.   It is impossible to do the technical section of the Subway with only one car, you have to have two cars for a 10 mile shuttle.  The next morning when we picked up our Permits, we were hoping to get info on other groups doing the canyon, we thought we could join in with other adventurers.  However, no one else was doing the technical route.  We also inquired at Zion Adventure Co, were we were renting wet suits, if they knew of anyone doing the Subway that day. No luck.  So we accepted the fact that we would have to bag our original plan and we opted to hike to the scenic sections of the Subway from the bottom up.  Still a fun hike, but you don't get to see the best sections of the canyon, and there is no rapelling or technical climbing.

We headed out the Left Fork trail head in chilly weather, but warmed up fast hiking down into the canyon. 

The fall colors were perfect and we loved the yellow and red leaves mixed into the scenery.  The first few miles of the hike we followed the creek all the way up canyon to the Subway.  There was a ton of stream crossings, but we were able to keep dry up to this point.

We ran into one other hiker, a photographer who had hiked in during the morning snow and was waiting for some good light to take pics in. We took advantage of the chance of seeing another person and took a shot together at the entrance of the Subway.

The subway was incredible, tons of clear green and blue pools, cascading waterfalls, and amazing rock formations.

This was as far as we were able to venture up canyon without having to swim.  You can see it is pretty deep swim through the narrows here.  That is where we would have come from if we had done the canyon the technical route from the top down like we wanted to.  Miles and miles of narrows and clear pools.  All this trip did was wet out appetites to come back to do the real thing.

Amazing day of exploring.  On our way back to the car the sun came out and we had a fabulous Fall day.  We spend the rest of the day meandering the Virgin River Narrows walk and warming up in camp with Erik's famous chili and a warm fire. I am so glad Erik and I still went down even if we couldn't do the entire Subway. It would have definitely been doable, it wasn't that cold and the weather was much milder than predicted. It was still fun to visit my favorite place on earth to rejuvenate and prepare to finish the semester. 

When we came home we had something awesome waiting for us in the mail! Our permit requests to backpack the Grand Canyon this December were approved! So get excited for that incredible trip report.


Jessica Bryan said...

that looks like an awesome hike! Maybe this summer you can take Sam and I and show us some awesome hikes :D

The Dziendziels said...

Wow! You got some great shots. So Beautiful.

Lynette Wilie said...

Good times. Glad you still went. Grand Canyon in Dec. I am so jealous. Love to you both!