In this case, the subway is a 9-mile hike in my home states’ Zion National Park. I love having friends that ask me to go on these adventures that require permits and an experienced guide. Why did we need an expert you ask? Because this hike through a slot canyon involved 3 rappels! 3!! It also involved swimming through parts of the slot canyon that filled up with water.
A true adventure you guys. Holy shit. I’m already sad it’s behind me.
I’ve been rappelling a handful or more of times over the course of my life and I’ve always found the experience thrilling. I’m not sure if it’s because there was no belay the bottom of the ropes this time (an actual person serving as a back up to stop the ropes if you make a mistake), or if it’s because it’s been a good 6 years since my last time bounding down a mountain attached to a rope, but this time it was scary! I don’t mind confessing to y’all (look at the slang I’m picking up from my trip to Memphis!) that I don’t like being as scared as I was. I definitely need to re-familiarize myself navigating heights like that on a more regular basis.
This awesome hike had some other scary elements.
#1 scary thing: Slot Canyons.
For those of you that aren’t familiar, slot canyons are usually narrow spaces in between rock faces. Sometimes they are just small enough for a person to squeeze through. My BFF and I had a memorable experience with another one in southern Utah last year. Feel free to read about that adventure here.
This slot canyon was not the claustrophobia inducing one we navigated in Escalante, but because it was still a slot canyon, there is always the “point of no return” element.
I am not being dramatic here. Should a flash flood come while you are anywhere in the “point of no return” zone, you will most certainly die. Now, I know the likelihood of death from a car accident is much higher than drowning in a slot canyon, but try telling yourself that when you cross that “these might just be your last steps” threshold… Especially if you see rain clouds, or even think about how quickly rain clouds can swoop in out of nowhere. These quiet, almost meditative moments that come with these kinds of adventures are some of my favorite moments in life. That connection with your breath you feel as you make the conscious decision to go forward forces you into a state of being completely present. The possibility of death seems to do that no matter how small that possibility actually is or how seemingly silly.
# 2 scary thing: My camera’s wellbeing.
There was NO WAY that I could do this trip and not bring my camera. I decided on one camera body and one fish-eye lens (Look at how far I’ve come!). I put it inside a gallon-size freezer bag, and put that inside of a dry bag that upon the touch seemed just as susceptible to water absorption as a delicate linen. I was freaked the fuck out you guys.
It was like Schrodinger’s Cat when I fully submersed myself in that first pool. The camera might be the fully functioning piece of equipment needed for my livelihood or it might be a water soaked antique trinket. Who knows?! It’s too late now! Keep swimming!
It made it through okay. Woot woot!! Thank you magic fabric for protecting my camera. I feel I should also pay thanks to the REI guy that patiently gave 4-minutes of his life answering the same question…
“THIS fabric is waterproof?”
“Waterproof, like if I put something in it, dunk it in water and it will be dry inside?”
“Yes, that fabric.”
“Waterproof, like the contents inside will be completely dry?”
“THIS fabric, are you sure?”
“You’re sure that if I put something valuable inside, completely submerse it in water, that what’s inside will be okay?”
… And so on for a solid 4-minutes.
I also decided to buy a GoPro camera for the trip since I would not have access to my real camera for a good portion of the hike. It was a good purchase.
Here are the pics from my Subway adventure. Special thanks to my friends who let me tag along. I’m one lucky girl.
My hosts. We camped out on some nearby BLM land the night before the hike. Sleeping under the spectacular Utah desert sky was worth the drive from LA on it’s own.
This was the third rappel and the scariest. You really had to take it slow because the rock was kind of slick and it curved in, so it wasn’t hard to kind of smack into it as you worked your way down. As soon as I made it down, I wanted to do it again but do it better.
Come on!!! Look at all those sunbursts reflected in the water! I love it so.
The tiny frogs were so cute!!! I just want to squeeze their little bodies. I had a dream about them the other night I liked them so much.
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