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The Fabulous Subway- Intro to Canyoneering -- Group II
By Benjamin Stokes
| The report pertains to the second of two groups that traveled to Zion National Park over the weekend of August 1-3 with the intention of hiking through the "Subway" on the Left Fork of North Creek. Our party consisted of Ben Stokes, Kevin Earl, June & Lillian Wang, Lillian's boyfriend Gabe, Dana Earl, Dianne Budig, Hardy & Holly Sherwood, and Alan Hassett with Frank Nederhand joining us on the evening of August 2.
We rendezvoused at Zion National Park on the afternoon of Friday, August 1. Those of us who arrived earlier (Kevin, June, Lillian, Gabe, Dana, Ben, and Dianne) decided to do the Hidden Canyon hike on Friday afternoon. This route is listed as 2.4 miles round trip with an 850' elevation gain. The trail climbs to the mouth a slot canyon high on the side Zion Canyon. At the end of the maintained trail, we opted to continue up the slot canyon over several intermediate scrambles past a small sand stone arch and beyond.
Although we had won permit lotteries for both Saturday and Sunday, we opted to hike through the Subway on Saturday because of questionable weather on Sunday. This proved to be an excellent decision. The hike through the Subway started by setting a car shuttle. We left one vehicle at the Left Fork Trail Head and then load everyone into the other two vehicles for the additional eight mile drive to the Wildcat Trail Head. From the Wildcat Trail Head, we first had to hike for a couple hours through rim rock before we made the descent into the Left Fork. From there, we spend spent several hours making our way through the slot canyon, down-climbing with and without ropes, wading and even occasionally swimming through very cold water. Eventually, we reached the end of the technical section of the canyon and then hiked several additional miles first down canyon and then finally up and out through an exit on the right side of the canyon. All told, we traveled 9.5 miles. After we retrieved the vehicles at the upper trail head, we went back to Springdale for some well-earned pizza and beer.
On Sunday, we woke up to drizzling rain with a much welcomed respite from the previous day's heat. While the rain made it impossible to do the technical rappel through Refrigerator Canyon that we had planned, we decided to go ahead and hike to the top of Angels Landing. The Angels Landing hike is listed as 5.4 miles with 1488' of ascent. While most of the hike is on a very well-maintained paved trail, the last section consists of chains and slick rock with stunning exposure. The rain really brought out the "slick" in the slick rock. However with some careful footwork, some of us were able to make our way all the way to the top. Thus rounding out a superb weekend in Zion.
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