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Trip Report: Fantastic Father-Daughter Zion & Bryce Canyon Graduation Trip

Trip Report: Fantastic Father-Daughter Zion & Bryce Canyon Graduation Trip

Old Jul 4th, 2010, 04:41 AM
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Herb hadn't been to Oregon***
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 06:10 AM
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Spiro - Matt and Herb from Moab are great. Matt set up and Herb guided the amazing canyoneering/rappelling trip my wife and I took with Desert Highlights in Arches NP in 2008 (based on your recommendation here). Didn't realize they did Oregon trips too. Our Zion guides were very interested in how they compared to the Desert Highlights crew.
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 09:35 AM
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Matt just does the Oregon trips for a couple of weeks in July or August. It is unadvertised. I am not sure whether or not he even went this year. He has only done this for a few years and it is more of an exploring deal for him than anything. He found the canyon that we did on his first trip and has yet to find anything else. He has only taken about 15-20 people down it and it is unlikely that anyone else has seen it before him. Only way to get to it is to rappel into it. Falls and creek are unmapped and unnamed. I want to go back to Moab and do Medieval and Granary there. But, I want to try Zion canyoneering sometime also. I know that there are a couple of other outfitters in Escalante that do canyoneering as well. It is addictive. If you ever get a chance to go ziplinning try it also. It is pretty fun too.
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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Thanks, MRand for the report. I'm not much of a hiker, but my sister is and I'm going to forward this to her for reading. She used to do rock climbing/rappelling when she was younger. I think she might enjoy it again with these guys.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 07:07 AM
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MRand,

What a treat your friend and daughters had on the canyoneering trip! Yes, that water can be FREEZING! When I did the Subway near Zion, it was the night after a snowfall in April. Amazing how quickly your muscles shut down at those temps. I only swam about 5 strokes, but had to crawl out. I shook for an hour afterwards! Still the greatest hike of my life.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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PS -if you do go with guides out of Escalante, research very carefully. One of the guides there lost a couple of customers in a flash flood a few years ago. They should have known better! I don't remember which company it was.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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Good advice, Dayle. When we took a guided canyoneering trip out of Escalante, we checked out the reputation of our guides with the National Forest Service in Escalante (at the Visitor Center). The rangers assured us we were in good hands.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Dayle:

I REALLY want to do the Subway at Zion. Do you have a trip report? Did you do a guided trip for that?

Spiro:

Thanks for the information. I'd highly recommend either Matt and Herb at Desert Highlights in Moab or Dave and Hank at Zion Adventures in Springdale for back country hiking and canyoneering. Our Zion guides told us that, unfortunately, the NPS superintendent at Arches NP has banned Desert Highlights and all other companies from doing any trips in the park, such as the spectacular Lomatium & Krill Canyons combination in the Fiery Furnace that we did in 2008. If true, that's a real shame because those guys seem to have a real respect for the environment and that is a trip that should be available to anyone who has the energy and interest to do it.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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Yeah, Matt told me about that. It is a new super and she wouldn't renew them. We did Krill Canyon as well. I wrote her and she never responded to my letter or email.
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Old Jul 26th, 2010, 05:56 PM
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Finally getting around to wrapping this up.

Wed. May 26

No kidding, each time I stand on top of Angel’s Landing, I get a big lump in my throat. Over the last 11 years, I’ve done this hike three times and it never fails to awe. Part of it of course is the dizzying sense of exposure that the final scramble up to the top offers. Yet it’s not the most exposed hike or scramble I’ve ever done. In fact, the hike itself isn’t all that long. It’s the relatively short burst of intense exertion, immediately topped off by the dang 360 degree view. Holy cow. When you stand on that knife edge of rock, looking as far as you can see up and down the length of Zion Canyon past the Temple of Sinawava to the north to Springdale in the south — it’s an unparalleled adrenaline rush. Not only does it make me thankful to be alive, but proud of this country’s spectacular natural wonders and a National Park Service that would preserve such a glorious place. In this day, the chains assisting hikers to the top seem like some throwback to an earlier era where risk-taking was more of a given. (There have, unfortunately, been a few fatalities on the Angel's Landing hike over the last few years.) But it’s really something that everyone who’s interested should try, even if they have reservations. Just START EARLY and TAKE YOUR TIME.

We start this morning with yet another satisfying breakfast at Café Soleil next door to Cliffrose Lodge, and then take the easy walk over to the park Visitor Center to catch the NPS shuttle about 7:30 am. Twenty or so minutes later, we step off at The Grotto shuttle stop and trailhead for Angel’s Landing. The blue sky heralds another warm day.

The trip to the top of Angel’s Landing has six segments: (1) a brief, gradually ascending hike over the Virgin River to the base of (2) the first set of switchback on the West Rim Trail. These switchbacks level off into (3) the cool shade of Refrigerator Canyon, leading to another set of switchbacks — (4) the famous 21 (or is it 22?) turns that are Walter’s Wiggles:
http://www.zionnational-park.com/ima...ing-ef_jpg.htm
— which then elevate us onto the natural sandy platform of (5) Scout Lookout. At this point, Angel’s Landing still looks high above us, attainable only via what seems, at first view, (6) a precarious ascent of a thin ridge of rock falling away both to the left and the right in sheer sandstone cliffs.

Once on the scramble, the cliffs on both sides certainly focus your attention, but the ascent seems much more doable than it appears from a distance. We’re really glad we've made an early start, as we encounter on a few others on our scramble to the top. Finally, we’re at the summit and high fiving with our daughters. We soak in the view. We pose with our for pictures taken by some fellow hikers and in turn take pictures for them. We soak in more of the views. We enjoy our snacks and gulp our water. We soak in even more of the views. As you can tell, we’re getting reluctant to leave. Finally it’s time to descend, which goes much more quickly, but we start to encounter increasing numbers of hikers ascending. There are a number of places on the trail where the only safe option is to wait above until those coming up have gotten past and then proceed single file. We’re back at the shuttle stop by noon, so the complete round trip has taken us about four hours.

We have an evening flight to catch out of Las Vegas, so we hurry back to the Cliffrose Lodge, clean up and check out. We're starved, so on the way out of town we stop at Oscar’s for delicious hamburgers on the patio for our final meal in Springdale. Soon we’re on the highway, the young graduates napping contentedly in the back seat, and the proud dads pleased that we could give our daughters this short but exhilarating preface to new chapters in their lives.
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