I had been intrigued by Mystery for quite a while, but I typically avoid doing a first decent of a canyon until I've gone down it with someone with more experience or someone that has done it before. 2014 was going to be the year for sure. April and Bill had scored permits for us and the date was set.
We spent the previous day doing Fat Mans and after a long slog out and major cramps in my (Tyler's) legs on the way out, I was sure to load up on extra salty stuff for Mystery, which ended up in obvious over-kill because this canyon is pretty much all down-hill.
Base camp was Zion ponderosa, so Bill and I left our shuttle vehicle at canyon junction the night before. We were up and at the East Mesa Trail head and on our way from there by 7:20am. I love the views of the park from these further-reaching places. The pine trees up on the higher elevations of the park make the air so fresh and the relative solitude from the busy canyon below is nice. By 8:10 we were at the Death Gully drop and we began our decent, making it to the first regular rappel by 9:00.
From there it was rappel after rappel, beautiful canyon walls, and a few down-climbs. After the first rappelling section we stopped for lunch until 11:30am, then headed on down for our last two (big) rappels at Mystery Springs and Mystery Falls, both of which I met with great anticipation and they both lived up to the hype.
Mystery Springs was such an amazing feeling. Just a large, beautiful place all to yourself. I didn't want to leave, but we had business to finish and that was just a bit down-canyon at Mystery Falls. As we approached the crowds below began to gather. Bill began to get frustrated as he prepared to toss our rope bags because people were standing right at our drop just staring up at us. He finally gave a violent wave at them to move and that seemed to do the trick. Alene, April, Bill, then myself being the last went down. It was slippery (as usually described), but just take your time, allow yourself to get a little wet in the water course, and enjoy the ride down. From there, we strolled a few corners to the Narrows exit by 1:20pm.
This is another obvious canyon I'd do again whenever presented with the chance and the availability. East Mesa TH to Narrows exit was 6 hours total.
About to drop into the Death Gully
Going down the Death Gully
Alene and April on one of the first few rappels
Lake Mystery was dry
One bend away from Mystery Springs
At Mystery Springs. My favorite place in the canyon
Alene on the last rappel at Mystery Falls
Tyler, coming down the last rappel at Mystery Falls
Video from our jaunt through the canyon