Category Archives: Seasons

Recent Subway Trouble Highlights Dangerous Spring Conditions

While there are LOTS of fantastic ways to enjoy Zion right now, hiking The Subway is not one of them. Due to dangerous high water conditions and a flurry of “lost hiker” reports in the last two weeks, the Park Service has closed The Subway until further notice. While nobody has been seriously injured or harmed, this story from KSL Salt Lake City features video from the crew that helped out hikers who spent four days stranded in the Subway last week. While The Subway has a reputation as a moderate, beautiful hike which is appropriate for families and kids, risks involved in The Subway are VERY contextual. In mid-June, when rain is rare, temperatures high, and days long, The Subway can be exceptionally hospitable. Even then, however, you still need to have proper equipment and knowledge to manage short rappels, downclimbs, and cold water. During periods of heavy rain or snow melt, however, The Subway quickly becomes an intimidating and life-threatening place. Though some canyoneers do have proper equipment, experience, and training to descend The Subway in high-water conditions, most use good judgment by going elsewhere to better conditions, and returning on a better day or season.

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, In the News, Outdoor Leadership, Seasons, Videos, Weather & Climate, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Travel Journal: My New Year’s Resolution

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! As one year ends and a new one begins, I find myself reflecting on my habits and reevaluating how I spend my time. The religious and cultural symbols of the new year, the changing seasons, and all the time spent indoors lately have prompted me to mull over all the possibilities for the coming year. For many, this is a time to distill lessons from the previous twelve months, to devote oneself to new disciplines, and to set new goals. I find myself doing the same. As I take stock of the past year,  I find so many moments committed indelibly to my memory, places and people that have impacted who I am, and my intention is to find even more in 2011. Having just finished touring the East Coast for the first time, I have a special perspective through which I am processing all this. When traveling, I feel a sense of urgency; I do not want to miss an opportunity to experience something, because I may not have the opportunity again. This makes me think of a class I took on improvisation. The rule in improv comedy is, “Say YES”. No matter … Continue reading

Posted in Reflections, Seasonal, Seasons, Winter | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Autumn in Zion: Adventure Season

The season for adventure is ripe in Zion right now. The weather is ideal, crowds have thinned out, and permits are readily available. A huge rainstorm just came through the area, which has cooled things down, and filled the canyons with fresh water. This is the season for frolicking, splashing, and exploring.This month I have had the opportunity to descend Cave Creek, Imlay (via the sneak route), the Subway/Das Boot link up, Echo Canyon, and the daily canyon guiding outside the park. These routes represent the full spectrum of technical canyoneering in Zion. Each descent is unique, beautiful, and remote. I find release in this terrain because it lends itself to creative problem solving and having fun. Descending the Subway with a wetsuit, for example, allows ample opportunities for slipping and sliding, swimming, playing in waterfalls, and enjoying an enchanting natural playground. This is the ultimate form of recreation. Canyons are a medium for play, and while there is a certain risk associated with canyoneering, the exercise of exploring, of flirting with danger, and the unknown satisfies a primal desire. My conversation with guided clients often touches upon the need for recreation. It seems that the average American is overstressed … Continue reading

Posted in Autumn, Canyoneering, Rock Climbing, Seasons, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Anticipating Fall Colors in Zion

Autumn sneaks up on us in Zion. The temperatures stop breaking 100 sometime in early September, then the weather turns various shades of gorgeous for the next two months – highs in the 70′s and 70′s, crisp nights – while each day whittles back its daylight hours. For a hardwoods Midwesterner like me, it doesn’t really feel like fall until the leaves change colors, and on the canyon floor, this happens quite late.  Since the cottonwood trees along the creeks and rivers don’t take color until early November, it’s easy to forget about fall colors… sometimes I miss them altogether. But if you love fall foliage (and who doesn’t) it’s not too difficult to find it in spades around here… you just have to know where to look. Go up high. Leaves begin changing as early as mid-September in the highest regions of the Park. One of my favorite autumn drives is the loop from Springdale up to the Cedar Breaks high country and back, which typically packs a wallop of arboreal majesty. To make the most of this trip, don’t use the highway. Instead, take SR 9 from Springdale to Virgin, then turn up the Kolob Terrace Road, ascending … Continue reading

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