Monday, December 7, 2009

Shelf Canyon Ankle Roll

Trevor and Jessi were down from Salt Lake and wanted to do some hiking. We decided to go to Zion. Wanting to get several short hikes in, and have time to go to real church (well Micah and myself anyway) we left at 7:00 in the morning and arrived at our first hike before the sun even thought of rising above the majestic cliffs of Zion.

Our first hike was to the Upper Pool of the classic Emerald Pools Hike. I love this hike, as long as you start before the masses. The hike was a little more exciting then normal because around the waterfalls the trail was pure ice and we had to slowly, hanging on to the also ice covered rail, slide down the hill. This hike was also different because of the formation of icicles on all the overhangs. Photo taken Nov 08
Surely such a inspiring place proves the existence of a SUPREME CREATOR. I can not think of another outdoor location that leaves me with that feeling as much as the Upper Emerald Pool. It is tucked in the corner of two spectacular thousand feet cliffs. The reflection from the pool of the rocks around it is one of a kind in such a desert. No where else, that I can think of in the desert, can you find such a reflection. Add to that the solitude and utter silence and one can imagine GOD himself sitting in contemplation, and in awe of the beauty of HIS own works. And for that reason it is a must for all hikers to get there early before the sheeple arrive and start throwing rocks into the pool and ruining the quietness.

In the past i have tried to find Two Pines Arch a couple of times and never had success. This time would be different. We parked, crossed the road, and started down into the wash. After looking a little closer at my topo map I figured out why I have always had such a difficult time, I HAVE ALWAYS GONE SOUTH RATHER THAN NORTH!!! What an idiot I am! This time, after initially repeating the mistakes of the past, was different and we found the arch. Two Pines Arch is a cool little arch and I was glad we found it, and look forward to going back with my camera to take some "better" pics. Sorry Trevor nothing against you or your camera but I need mine! We wanted to hike to the top of Progeny Peak after this but Micah quickly reached his own personal comfort limit with slickrock scrambling so instead we turned back. While I was disappointed, my disappointment soon ended. For our last little jaunt we decided to hike to Shelf Canyon.

Shelf Canyon is a little slot canyon that starts soon after you exist the tunnel. It is an extremely fun hike for everyone with the reward of a cool slot canyon. The end of the canyon one wall is layered almost like a bunch of shelves.
The hike has a little bit of scrambling over and around boulders and pools(I dang near slipped and fell into the ice covered pool) thus making it an exciting hike for all. We hung out for about ten minutes as far into the slot as we could go before heading back. On the way back we made it to within eyesight of the car when I rolled my ankle. With my ankle injury I expect a couple week recovery, Oh well, it was worth it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Devils Well

After reading about a mysterious 70 foot deep tank on top of the cliffs overlooking Snow Canyon I decided it was something I would like to see. Something like that in the middle of a desert filled only by rain water would be extremely rare and impressive. Ryan Jensen and I set out to find this mysterious well. The day was beautiful as we started to hike on the three ponds trail in Snow Canyon. After about a mile and walking next to several hundred feet high vertical cliffs we split off the trail and began an ascent up a ridge of slickrock. Later we would discover this would be the only safe way down as well. After a long ascent we found ourselves on top of the cliffs overlooking much of snow canyon. The vistas were very amazing. The solitude of the place was something that I needed to recharge my internal batteries.We did not see any other person on top of the cliffs, nor any evidence of anyone being up there for some time. After sitting and enjoying the views and a brief moment of contemplation we descended from the peak to find the "devil's well." We found where the water had been but unfortunately it was no longer full. I am not sure if the author of my source hiked there before the current decade long drought or maybe it fills with spring rains, but there was only mud at the bottom of a very deep hole in the slickrock.

Finding the well was the beginning of our real adventure, trying to find a way down the cliff!Initially we hoped that there would be several ways down and as long as we were descending we hopefully should be able to find a route down, but we were mistaken as we repeatedly were forced to retrace our steps after finding our attempt stopped by high cliffs or dangerous scrambles.At one point we almost became rim-rocked but fortunately we were able to climb out of such places.Eventually after 4 or 5 failures we found a way down, which happened to be the exact same route up and possibly the only safe way up or down. I will publish some pictures if Ryan emails them to me. I forgot my camera