I woke up early to a cold morning, wet shoes and some awfully cold looking river water. I vetoed the shorts idea and actually pulled on the dry suit pants I had rented. Partly because 5 miles in cold water sounded not so fun, but more because I'd carried the darn things so I better at least use them for part of my trip.
I had a long drive ahead of me so after stalling as long as I could I pulled on my clammy gear and waded into the river. I had read that after the campsites and the natural spring (big springs) the hike just got more spectacular. I was excited for my morning and hopeful that the rumors of chest deep water were just that, horribly inflated rumors.
Soon enough I passed Big Springs and then I was in Wall Street. A 2 mile section of river with nothing but steep canyon walls, no high ground just wishes for no flash floods (not an expected danger for me with no rainfall that day or the day before).
The walls were pretty impressive and overall the water was deeper than my first day. I'd spent most of my first day in ankle to knee deep river while day two was more of a knee to thigh kind of deal. Luckily enough the deepest I ever got was just below crotch level. This only mattered because if the water got above my pants waistline I was going to have some pretty annoying water filled pants legs and sausage balloon pants of 50 degree water just didn't sound fun (the 40 we had been quoted was way off, not sure how cold it was but definitely not 40).
|2000 ft canyon walls...|
|the silty river made it tricky to tell how deep the water really was, usually |
Passing this waterfall meant I was maybe a mile from the beginning of the river walk, the paved trail that would bring me back to Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop and meant an end to my trip.
I hadn't seen a single person my whole first 2 hours of hiking and then at a little past 9 am I saw a couple round a corner heading up river. Around the next corner I saw a nice little horde of folks, there were easily 10 people starting to pick their way up the river. As I crossed the river the sudden emergence of crowds suddenly made sense, I saw the paved trail of the River Walk and the end of my time in the river. Surrounded by people I quietly pulled of my dry suit pants and canyoneering shoes and relishing my freedom from all things neoprene I pulled my trail runners back on and headed out towards the shuttle.
|the shuttle waiting to take me to dry clothes and breakfast|
|one last look at the canyon entrance|
I walked to my car and in a very anticlimactic fashion changed my clothes ate a snack and hit the road. Down the road in La Verkin I stopped at a big ( and cheap!) grocery store buying greens and chocolate milk and then back towards the Loneliest Highway in America. The drive was much prettier in the day light but I've decided 8 hours is my cut off for sane driving. After that all I want is the driving to be over and I get pretty cranky.
Lessons? I am absolutely in love with Zion, think Springdale is one rad town and didn't realize how much I missed camping and bumming around. Adventures this summer are a must and I'm already thinking a grand canyon fall/winter trip will be taking me back to the southwest later this year.