Monday, May 10, 2010

Canyoneering (May 10)

When I was planning this trip, I checked out websites about canyoneering and thought that would be a fun thing to try but put it to the way side because I didn't have room in my schedule for it. I really wanted to hike The Narrows but when I dropped in to Zion Adventures to inquire about it, only to find out it was closed, I all of a sudden had free time on my hands to fill. I picked up their brochure, checked out canyoneering, asked lots of questions, then signed up. I was to show up at their store at 1:00pm today to join up with a guide and five others for an afternoon adventure. When I showed up they informed me I was suppose to go with the morning group but after sorting this out, they realized they made a mistake and typed in am instead of pm. They did what a great, successful company does! They offered me a private trip with one of the top guides at no extra charge. (A private event is more than double the cost of what I paid.) Twenty minutes later we are on the road heading outside the National Park to get elevated.

This the trailhead on public land. Guiding is not allowed on park land. It is a sandy trail through a maze of wonderful smelling sage bushes that leads of in behind these formations. It is hard to believe there are slot canyons in here.
We geared up! Dave carried all the equipment in and directed me on how all the equipment is suppose to fit. He went up ahead of me to secure ropes for my benefit while climbing up.
We would be doing four repels today, along with some other maneuvering. The first repel was wide open with a gentle gradual face to come down then reaches an overhang that I needed to go over for the balance of the repel.
The next repel was longer, straight down a narrow hole type opening.
He picked an even different experience for the third. I needed verbal direction on getting down this one. It changed direction part way down and I had to move sideways with gravity now and then. He knew the slopes and yelled out what I needed to do.
The final repel was rough and rugged and I had to try and make my own judgement on which route to follow, with some help from Dave, of course. He carried my camera and took photos the whole way.
In between each repel, we had to down climb to get to the next repel section.
After all the descending, we reached the bottom of the slot canyon but no where near the opening of it. These things are mazes! The last challenge was to squeeze our way through the canyon, over rocks, even under one, turning sideways at times to fit. It was dark at the start of this part and got lighter the closer we got to the opening.
This has got to be the highlight of my trip! I know that already, and I am only into day three of my vacation. They offer canyoneering for all levels of experience. Mine was a half day but if I ever have the opportunity to try this again, I would go for the full adventure. Canyoneering elevated me to a new level of high!

1 comment:

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