Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Headed for the Subway ~

No, not what you would think. I will not be going underground or riding a train anywhere. A buddy of mine and I are headed to one of the most beautiful spots on earth. Zion National Park and up through a slot canyon on the left fork of North Creek to an area called "The Subway". You've probably seen pictures from this area even if you didn't know the name as it's been photographed hundreds of thousands of times.

I had the opportunity to hike the subway in April of 2010 and have been dreaming ever since of making a trip back again. Originally the trip was supposed to be a foursome but one of my hiking buddies has had a job pop up that he can't turn down and another recently lost his younger brother so it will just be Glenn and I for this amazing journey. Glenn was one of the two people I did this hike with before and he too is looking forward to getting back to this magical location.

Here's one of my favorite shots from this hike taken at the area that gives it its name, The Subway.
Zion Subway Hike
Looking at the way the water has carved out this "tunnel" you get the impression you are walking into a subway tunnel.

Once you make it into the tunnel you reach a point where the water becomes too deep to just hike and it then becomes a "swim". Last time we were there the water was very cold and flowing pretty fast so we didn't make it as far as I had hoped. This shot here was one of the last ones taken deep inside the tunnel before we decided to turn around and head out.
Zion Subway Hike
All of these images were taken on a tripod with very long exposures to get the flow of the water to blur.

So far the two images shown are ones that were taken inside the Subway but getting to this point is a thrill as well. You hike down into this canyon and start walking upstream and are constantly met by these beautiful flows off the rocks that are all photo worthy. Here a couple from early in the day just as we started the hike.
Zion Subway Hike

Zion Subway Hike

I should note for anyone interested in this hike that permits are required. You have to request permits up to three months in advance and they only allow something like 30 or 40 people in per day.
Also, there are two ways of approaching the subway, from the south like we are planning on doing where you hike down into the canyon and head north up to the subway, then turn around and head back out the same way. The other way is to come into the canyon from the north and hike through the subway and out the south end. This route requires a bit of repelling at one point, 30-40' and the possibility of a good bit of swimming. I guess if you have a dry suit and are comfortable repelling this is the "cooler" way to go.

My entire gallery from the 2010 trip can be viewed here.
And of course I'll be posting new pics and a blog report next week after I return. It's a bit of a drive from Vegas to Zion National Park, about 3.5 hours but worth every minute of it. Glenn and I plan on driving up Friday afternoon and camping overnight so we can get an early start Saturday morning. It's going to be a long day because we'll have to drive back to Vegas Saturday night after climbing outta the canyon. I have to work Sunday morning! I'm not sure yet what my work hours are going to be so it may be a few days before I get the blog updated.....stay tuned.