Root Family

Root Family

Dec 11, 2014

Canyoneering Zion October 2014 Part 2 The Subway

Painful as it was, Laurie and I got up at 5 am to do the Subway.  Since we camped on the east side of Zion we had at least a 1.5 hour drive to get to the trail head up on the Kolob Terrace road in the town of Virgin.  The hike takes a full day and we wanted to not only hit the trail early, but maximize our options for catching a ride from our vehicle at the exit to the upper trailhead.  When we got to the lower parking we still were packing our backpacks when the Zion Adventure Company shuttle came along. We weighed the cost and decided to just pay for the ride since we wanted to get started on our day and we hadn't seen any other groups come by yet.  

This would be my second time through the Subway, having gone in August 2012 Subway Trip.  I snapped a few photos of the route description to refer to on my phone.  Laurie and I kept leapfrogging a couple that was visiting from Florida doing the hike for their first time.  Occasionally they wanted to check if they were on track but it was fairly easy to spot cairns marking the path over the slickrock when the trial wasn't visible.  We actually leapfrogged them the whole day, and ending up recommending they spend their next morning going through Keyhole.  : )

This trip was very different from my first visit and I love how doing a hike you love again is always new and always fun--like Heraclitus' theme--you can never step in the same river two times.  The weather was perfect, it was a sunny day, and I think just 70 or so degrees.  The water was definitely much chillier (and colder than Keyhole had been), so I was grateful for my wetsuit.  There were brightly colored fall leaves throughout, decorating the sides of the canyon and floating in brilliant collections in pools.  But the biggest difference was how clear the water was!  I actually felt guilty that it was so blue and Tyler's trip had been muddy like our last one!

Fall colors and reflections in these photos:

Clear blue water in these:

compare to the same spot in August 2012:

This time no logs got in the way of going under the waterfall!

compare to August 2012:

We had some fun on the exit, well, Laurie had some fun sliding down these rocks and we loved the bugs!

On the long hike through the creek after the Subway section I got pretty drained.  I kept stumbling over my feet and was moving so slow.  I don't think I've ever bonked like that so bad before.  It just seemed like it was taking forever and we kept getting ahead and then falling behind the couple from Florida, and kept seeing hikers coming from the bottom up giving reports of how much farther.  I just got so tired of making my way through those rocks and then after one of our breaks I said to Laurie: "wouldn't it be awesome if the exit was just around this corner?"  Then we turned the corner and it actually was!  I practically sprinted up the hill, I guess I had the energy I just was starting to hate the terrain even though it was still so pretty.  : )

We had dinner in Springdale that night and headed back up to Zion Ponderosa.  I was really happy we did the Subway because it was so perfect and so beautiful!  We both had a great time and I might venture to say it was one of Laurie's favorite hikes ever.  

I decided to make a tally of my Zion hits and misses so far (this isn't all of the canyons / hikes in the park, just those I've been interested in thus far and are within my skill set).  I can't wait to get back there!

My Zion backcountry hits so far:
West Rim w/ Angel's Landing
East Rim w/ Cable Mountain and Deer Trap Mountain overlooks
Kolob Arch

Keyhole Canyon (4 times)
Subway (2 times) 
Jolley Gulch (1 time)
Englestead Hollow (1 time) 
Fat Man's Misery / Misery (2 times) 
Mystery Canyon (1 time) 

My Zion backcountry wishlist is:
Hop Valley (the only piece I'm missing of the full Zion traverse)

Pine Creek
Spry Canyon
Birch Hollow & exit down through Orderville (didn't get to when we did Englestead)
Dead Eye Dick

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