Friday night I flew into Las Vegas and drove over to Zion National Park, about three hours. I didn’t get in until late, but was still surprised that at this time of year both campgrounds were full. Oh well, it was an excuse to grab a nice room with a king size bed and a jacuzzi for $60! Saturday I got up early and headed to the Visitor Center. My goal for this trip was to do “the Subway” and only 20 permits are handed out a day. The visitor center opened at 8 and my photo book said get there early which I did. Well that wasn’t necessary only 6 or so permits were used up, I could’ve slept in! Walk-in permits are given for the day of or the next day, I opted for Sunday because I wanted to get an early start.
I headed out to Escalante for the day and did the Dixie National Forest loop up across Hells Backbone. The aspen I was hoping for were totally bare. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m guessing the drought combined with some high winds did them in. Usually the last week of October is pretty prime for this area.
Saturday night I hit the usual pizza joint in Springdale, this place is so slow and only takes cash but the pizza isn’t bad. Sunday morning I hit the trailhead for the subway right at 8 o’clock. The hike down to the canyon bottom is pretty easy and it’s about 2 hours hiking until the canyon gets really good. The first spot you hit is “the cascades” with water flowing across a ton of great looking slickrock. A little ways further up is “the slot” where just about all the water in the creek is channeled for 20 feet or so through a narrow 6 inch crack, it is pretty spectacular. There was a group of 3 photographers there trying some different shots. Just around the bend is the main event, “the subway” and it is awesome. Deep pools under overhanging cliff faces make for a ton of photo opps. I got there around noon and the light was not the greatest for color, but I was shooting TMax so didn’t care. The top of the subway ends in a couple deep pools and a steep wall. I am told sometimes there is some rope or webbing here that you can use to climb up and got to the top section. Today there was nothing, which annoyed the previously mentioned photo group. Luckily for them a group canyoneering from the top dropped a rope around 2 o’clock or so and they got to check out the top section. The hike back was much faster than coming, and I was back at my car by sundown with some great shots.
For anyone interested a wetsuit would have been totally uneeded for this hike. In fact I made it almost all the way without getting my shoes wet. On the way back I saved probably half hour, by just slodging through the water rather than using the numerous detours up the canyon side. I wore my Keen open shoes, the grip is pretty good, but rubbed the top of my feet raw because I wasn’t wearing socks. With 25 pounds of photo gear I was glad to have my Leki poles for added support. I definitely want to get a pair of 5-tennies with neoprene socks as they seem the footwear of choice for these canyons.
I shot 31 shots on Kodak T-Max 100 readyload, only a few of them doubles. I also took 10 shots on Fuji Across 100, all color versions of shots setup for B&W. The snaps below are from my Canon G7.