Thursday, May 10, 2018

Taking the Subway... Not that Subway

We all applied for permits for the Subway at Zion National Park, and we ended up with multiple. This was really happening! Little did we know when we woke up that morning just how much of an adventure lay ahead. We look really excited and totally unsuspecting.

But first, the fun part. With GPS in hand, we dropped below the canyon rim.

It was crazy how blue that sky looked against the red rocks.

It was almost like a Martian landscape. "The Wave" has nothing on us!

Soon we found the mouth of the Subway and started to drop in.

Right away, the scenery was incredible.

And then, our first rappel.

It wasn't long before we had to get in the freezing cold water. The first segment was just to our waists, so we didn't bother with wetsuits yet.

Maybe we should have, though, because the first full swim came just a few minutes later, and I had learned from getting in to my waist that the water really was freezing cold. It was probably in the 40s.

One of the most memorable parts of the adventure was the "bowling ball," a spherical rock that was wedged between the canyon walls. Too bad I didn't get any good pictures of it.

I will never forget the hilarity that ensued as each person tried to get down off the bowling ball without hitting the slippery submerged log below.

We had no choice on that one but to get all the way wet.

The second rappel!

And then the place we had come for began to come into view. It was like a beam from heaven shone a spotlight on one of the most magnificent creations in the world.

Pinch me, I'm dreaming!

The last rappel was the most exciting.

In the lower Subway, we discovered the waterfall room.

And this is where I slid onto my butt because it was so smooth and slippery.

My friend captured this amazing image.

And this one.

Wow, why did I even bother bringing my camera? Okay, I'm pretty sure I took this one. My friend looked back to warn us not to step in these holes, just as she stepped in one herself.

Just outside the Subway, we were treated to beautiful falls where we could refill our water. (Yes, we filtered it!)

Now all we had left were several miles to the exit point and a steep climb up to the car. Sounds easy, right? NO. You see, I forgot to tell you we had a woman in her 70s with us, and she had fallen and hurt her foot just three miles into the hike, so the going was slow, and it took a team effort to help her climb out of there.

And that made us cranky.

But with a little perseverance and a lot of patience (kind of), we eventually crested the rim in the dark of night. Good thing I always carry a flashlight on my hikes just in case! Hiking under the stars was a little magical, so that made it a bit better.

The next day, that woman got an x-ray and found out her foot was broken! Wow! I feel kinda bad now that I complained so much.

The next day for me was the icing on the cake... U2 in Vegas with my friend.

Life's good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Soaring with Angels

Ever since I saw it in pictures, I knew I wanted to do it: Angel's Landing at Zion National Park. The previous September, I had given my friend a hard time about missing the Joshua Tree concert, and she vowed that she would go next time U2 came. When a new tour was announced that would not be going to Phoenix, but that would be going to Vegas, a girls' trip was born! We invited all our hiking pals, and pretty soon we had a whole crew heading out on an adventure. The first day was the hike to Angel's Landing. The trail was surreal, carving into steep mountain sides.

The switchbacks were plentiful, but manageable and well maintained.

Eventually we reached the saddle and could see the formidable ridge come into view. Yes!

We're off!

It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be, but it was definitely exhilarating.

And then we arrived at an unrivaled perch high above Zion Canyon.

This is where I love to be.

It's even better with friends!

On the way down, we could see just how crazy those switchbacks were.

After we arrived back at the base, we hopped on the shuttle bus and headed for the end of the canyon so we could explore just the first little bit of the narrows. It just made me want to come back and backpack the narrows someday.

I think I will.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Waterwheel - for real!

The plan was a sweet canyoneering trip with three couples, but when one of the couples bailed on us to shop for prom shoes (you know who you are), the rest of us salvaged our Saturday with a trip to Waterwheel with the kids. The air was warm, but the water was cold!

The kids took advantage of the slippery rocks by using one of them as a waterslide!

These boys spent a lot of time in the mud... it's what boys should do.

My man was looking pretty cool.

This time we actually saw the waterwheel for which the place is named.

Last summer, a flash flood killed several members of a family who were at the swimming hole. It was so sad to see the tiny water shoe hanging on the memorial, and it was a sober reminder of the power of mother nature.