Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hidden Canyon. Zion

Digging a bit deeper into the park and trying to stretch my legs a bit more, I went for hidden canyon.
I am in training for my 50th b'day goal, which is to climb half dome in Yosemite. Physically, I think I can get there, it's the mental part of going up the cables that will be the challenge. Turns out that Zion is a good training grounds.
Hidden Canyon is, well, hidden. First requirement is a 900 foot climb in less than a mile. You may notice a lot of pics of the flora. That was my "pacing" the climb, as I have not done a climb of this nature in a bit. That was the easy part. Once to elevation, you have to go around the nose of a peak on a trail carved into the mountain side. Generally 3 feet wide and 900 feet straight down :'). They have chains mounted to the cliff wall to hang onto on a lot of the stretch. That, and the trail is pitched towards the cliff face, which was very thoughtful of them. All in all, I did alright with "the chains" portion. You might notice in the pic of me on them that I have a leg braced to the high part of the trail. That was just in case a brisk wind hit, or maybe an earthquake ;'). Hey, you never know.
Once in the canyon, I went back maybe 3/4 of a mile. There is an arch back there, not anything vivid or spectacular, but an arch nonetheless. Beyond that and it was getting to be more rock scrambling, and weather was moving in, so I turned around. A couple of hundred yards beyond the arch, a huge boulder had peeled off the cliff wall, and in exploring the chasism, I found a passage up along the cliff that revealed some of the nicest etched and sculptured sandstone I have seen on the trip to date. Peeking into hollows in the cliff revealed conical roofs with multi toned layers. Beautiful!
By the time I pulled myself away from this discovery and made it out of the canyon, the first raindrops started to fall. Back into the canyon and under a perch for a bit. I had no intent of getting back on "the chains" with the potential of a storm! After I saw a pattern of passing light showers develop, I went for it. Having much more courage on the return, I paused several times along the way for pictures of the awesome vistas that being out there provided.
Pounding downhill back to ground level proved to be harder on the legs than the climb, and I certainly felt it the next day. Enough so, that I postponed my trek into "the narrows" a day so that my legs could recover a bit. Good thing too.
On the way back to camp, I pulled off to get some pictures at the Springdale "wildlife preserve". Not sure why this exists right here in town. Nothing but a pasture. The bulk of the elk are "Rocky Mountain", with a couple of Rosevelt, a Bison and some longhorn steer for good measure.

1 comment:

Stuck In Fla said...

Amazing photos