My buddy Harrison led the expedition, he being a southern Utah native. It was Spring Break in the middle March and we looked forward to the warmer desert temperatures and amazing landscapes ahead.
We packed up and headed south, after about 3 hours the rocks began turning red and our teeth began to show. We arrived at St George that night and hit the sack for what we knew would be a fun filled day.
Sun’s up and we’re off. We set out for Kanarraville, known for its iconic waterfall found in the heart of a beautiful slot canyon. The weather was cooler than we had expected which wouldn’t have been a problem if the stream water wasn’t so darn cold.
The hike to the falls isn’t terribly long; the scenery along the way is nice but pales in comparison once you reach the mouth of the narrows. You don’t care how cold the water is at that point, you just want to go inside!
The slot canyon is like something from another world. As you make your way in your gaze moves heavenward as you examine the sumptuous curves and colors found all along the canyon walls, I could’ve starred at it for hours if it didn’t mean foot amputation.
Finally we heard the echo of the waterfall and rushed around the corner to find the legendary scene. It was shorter than I imagined. A photographer stood in the corner, adjusting his DSLR on its tripod for the perfect shot. We marveled at the moment and then excitedly climbed up the not-so-natural ladder. The canyon opened up and we sat down for lunch. Our feet were freezing and the sun was gone but we couldn’t be more pleased.
The next day we took to the motherland of southern Utah, Zion National Park.
The day was this time overcast but with warm temperatures. We arrived and hopped on the bus; operation Angels Landing was about to begin. We peered up at the daunting majestic landmark, it was pretty tall. Harrison had been atop it before and pointed the way up.
The path wound gently up toward the cliff face before heading straight in to a nearby canyon. About an hour into the hike and the weather turned for the worst. The warm air turned cold as moisture fell from the impending clouds.
We stomped up the switchbacks as the rain began to fall profusely. We were close. We arrived at the end of the trail, the beautiful Zion canyon stretching out on with side. To our right was the true beginning to Angels Landing. Its infamous chain sat dripping in the wet, taunting our courage. We took the bait.
We clamored up the slippery rock face, gripping the chain as best as we could. We reached the saddle and admired the overlook through our dripping faces. It was astounding. The cliff face was a straight drop. We cautiously stuck our heads over the edge then quickly reeled back as the butterflies intensified.
The remaining hike was intimidating. Its unforgiving surface and incredibly narrow width called for focus and discipline. At this elevation, any mistake could cost a life.
As we approached what would be the final ascent, still some 30 minutes left to hike, my footwear began to fail me. Sliding across the wet sandstone surface, my inadequate shoes were providing no traction in the rain. I brought this to the group’s attention and we agreed that it was just best to head back down.
It was a frustrating decision; I kicked myself for picking the wrong shoes. I hated that we had come so close but knew it was the smart thing to do. On the way down we began to realize our limits. Our hands were becoming numb and we questioned how much longer we could’ve held on to that icy chain. Perhaps it was for the best that my shoes gave way before our hands did.
After we got off the chain, we glanced around and noticed a beauty that couldn’t be enjoyed on a sunny day. Spontaneous waterfalls had begun occurring everywhere. Water cascaded down every peak and cliff face. Zion had transformed into something totally different.
As we reached the bottom of the trail the clouds parted and the sun mercifully beamed its rays. The rocks glistened in the bright sunlight as the remaining low wispy clouds made their way out of the valley. The beautiful greens of the shrubbery and copper-like orange of the wet earth contrasted in breathtaking array.
We hopped on the bus and dried off at the restrooms. Those hand-dryers are good for more than just your hands. Once dry we headed off to weeping rock and the emerald pools, both in full force of climax and beauty from the shower.
The sun sank over the royal landscape and we concluded our adventure. We left exhausted but satisfied, we had only scratched the surface of what Zion had to offer. I had used up all 64gb on my GoPro’s SD for the day, proud of the scenic loot I captured.
We woke up quickly the next day; it was leaving day. We didn’t have much time to travel anywhere far for an adventure but where we were going was only a stones through away.
Looking over the quaint city of St. George, Utah is Dixie Rock. From the road side, it seems plain and unassuming; dive in however and you find the greatest natural playground in the world. Covered in porous, alien-like rocks, it’s the perfect destination for the inner child. Every lumpy stone formation beckons to be climbed and explored. One could honestly waste hours at this place and is a mecca for bouldering enthusiasts.
Its most popular attraction is a slot canyon known as the Red Crack hidden on the outskirts of the park. The crevice is less than 100 yards long but averages to be only about a foot wide, effectively sandwiching even the skinniest of challengers. We slid on through and romped around the rocks until we finally had to leave.
During the drive home we reminisced on our experiences. We had enjoyed but a fraction of what southern Utah had to offer and we couldn’t wait for our next chance to go back.