Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pine Creek - Zion National Park

Let me make one thing clear, the name of the park is "Zion", not "Zion's". It is neither possessive or plural. There is never a time that you should refer to the national park as "Zions", ever. Back to business.

I drove down to Zion yesterday with my step-dad (Curt), his boss (Dennis), and a co-worker (Brad). They wanted me to take them through a slot canyon so that they could take a group of people from Dugway Proving Grounds later this month. We got down there at about 8:30pm and set up a quick camp. The weather was beautiful and we all slept pretty comfortable. Curt and I woke in the morning, broke camp and headed over to the backcountry permit station to secure a place in, what usually is, a line. There was no one there. We had intended to Mystery Canyon, but the park ranger explained that there was still a few feet of snow in the upper canyon and at the rim. He also said that there was a high chance for thundershowers today and even snow at higher elevations. With a long approach hike we felt it best to not do that canyon as we would be getting to the technical part just as the weather was supposed to turn bad. We decided to do Pine Creek, a canyon I have done on several occasions. It has no approach and with the people we had we could probably get through the canyon in just a few hours.

We drove through the large tunnel and parked at the overlook parking lot. We donned our wetsuits and backpacks and headed down into the canyon.

It wasn't long before Brad jumped into the first splash pot and got wet. He was the first to find out just how cold the water really was. Bbbrrrrr.

After a couple of short rappels and we had the big 50 ft double-arch rappel. These pics are horrible, but you get the idea. You land in water and then have to swim about 15 feet through ridiculously cold water. I was so glad for the wet suit I had, as tiny as it was.

There used to be another short drop with a 40 foot or so swim, but that had completely filled in with sand from a flash-flood a while ago. We just walked across it. The last rappel is normally about 100 ft, but that had also filled in about 10 feet from a rock fall. It was awesome all the same.

It was a great day. We had more time so we went and hiked around Emerald Pools. That was really cool. I had never been there before. One last photo of me and Curt before we called it a day.

5 hour drive home and then a 6.82 mile run. What a perfect day.

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