The Mysterious Southwest: Part Two
Hike Four: “Angels Landing”
Half of our crew departed after a great breakfast at Blondies Café, we ate as much as we could say our goodbyes and parted ways. Sherri and I way went right to the famous Angels Landing Trail head. The two-hour hike was grueling, the trail led through a series of steep switch backs known as Walters wiggles. Then we entered another set of switchbacks and the end of a little canyon. Once on top of cliff band the path narrows and there is a massive drop on either side and you hold on to a series of chains that lead along the ridge and to the top of Angels Landing.
The winds were gusting hard with a small constant wind which made climbing the ridge a little more challenging. The fact that seven people had fallen of the ridge and had been killed made this hike a little more terrifying the most. After a little while I became acclimated and an adjusted to the height of where I was, and I eventually became comfortable with my surroundings. The view is beautiful, and the gratification is complete. Now time for the long 1,500 vertical ft. walk down. Four-hour total hike time.
Hike Five: “The Narrows” (again)
Curiosity hit us hard at the base camp! Thinking about the narrows and doing more research on a longer canyoneering expedition. We decided if conditions were right for the next day we were going to hike into the narrows all they back to the bottom-up marker which is called the “The Big Spring”.
The Narrows are very tricky to navigate, and you must have a good understanding about flash floods. A flash flood in that canyon can kill you. Water traveling from hundreds of miles away can hit the canyon even when the skies overhead is blue. The rangers will not open the Narrows until the conditions are just right.
The water must flow at or under 125 cubic feet per second, ideally you would want to hike the canyon at around 50 cubic feet per second.
Five days before we got there the river birthed a flash flood in the middle of the night which ran at 600 cubic feet per second and raised the river levels an average of 4 feet. So, for us to spend 10 hours inside the canyon the conditions must be perfect.
We awoke early on Friday the 13th packed our packs and headed to Zion Outfitters. Brian outfitted us again and we were off to the Temple of Sinawava.
Finally, we trekked up the canyon past the house rock marker which was are previous goal. We entered the towering walls of wall street a section of the canyon where there is no light because of the incredibly height of the canyon. We were not the only ones hiking the narrows that morning but as soon as we passed the “Floating Rock” marker we were alone.
We continued through the dark shadows of wall street getting scraps of sun here and there towards the end of the section. The section after wall is known as boulders, this section was just that. Massive boulders lay in are path and the weather were getting deeper. Around the boulders the water was 15-20 feet deep. It took along time to navigate this section, bouldering rocks, and closely identifying safe passage. This section took its toll on our minds and bodies, but the spirit pressed on to the “Big Spring”.
It was nice that there was a patch of sun to relax in and listen to the spring. A Hawk kept buzzing me while I was sitting there which was a great sign. We had made it to are marker ate lunch and when we felt ready we turned back for the long 5-mile hike out.
Back and fourth crossing the river at least 100 times over boulders, rapids, and chest deep pools. When we got back to base camp we decided that 10 hours of canyoneering was a lot and are limit is about 6 hours. It is still amazing to me how small you feel in an area so big.
Hike Six: “Corral Pink Sand Dunes”
After freezing all day in a dark canyon, we decided to head east a couple of hours away from Zion to a place called Pink Corral Sand State Park. I quickly found a place to rent a sandboard and headed out towards the largest dune I could find. Which was a small sledding hill.
Sandboarding is like snowboarding on really slow ice. You cannot carve to well and anytime you leave the ground the board sticks and you must lean all the weight forward to gain speed again. I figured out how to straight line that was the best part. Climbing to the top of the dune was a challenge miniature sand sluffs would wipe your feet down hill while the legs were trying to pull them up.
I tried to sandboard in the morning thinking the cool temperatures might help with speed it did not seem to work at all. Warm wax on hot sand seems to be the formula for success. I rode a 120 cm Venomous board with Dakine kite surfing bindings.
As always thanks for reading! This is part two of the blog.