Intellectual Nourishment

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Subway Hike in Zion

The Subway at Zion National Park
www.zionnational-park.comLeft Fork of North Creek - The Subway
The mystical journey through the Left Fork of North Creek involves route finding, plunging cautiously into chilly pools then sloshing, sometimes frantically, through frigid water over and through difficult obstacles. The narrow Subway section of this hike forces hikers through a unique tunnel sculpted by the Left Fork of North Creek. Churning water chisels the rock floor, forming shallow potholes that fill to the brim with frosty water. Silhouettes dance freely on multi-colored walls where only a trickle of sun light penetrates into the curved chamber of the Subway. Falling water echoes in the nature carved tunnel where dragonflies dart, frogs laze about and shimmering emerald pools tempt cold hikers to dawdle. Before long, the promise of daylight urges an exit to the warmth of the sun waiting outside the Subway. The canyon widens as hikers cross back and forth across the creek, making their way to the grueling uphill exit. For those that want a glimpse of the canyon, but choose to stay away from uncomfortable obstacles, explore the canyon from the bottom where thin sheets of glistening water cascade over mossy stair-step slivers of rock. The Subway at a Glance
Day Canyon: Yes
Distance: 9.5 miles
Average Hiking Time: 7 hours
Equipment: Neoprene socks, rope, harness, sturdy sticky rubber hiking shoes, 3 liters of water per person or a purification method, energy food, dry clothing, first aid kit and a headlamp . Spring and Fall may necessitate the use of wetsuits. Use a dry bag for electronics and extra clothing. A zip lock baggie and other household items will not keep gear dry.
Difficulty: This is a technical canyon where rappelling and down-climbing skills are required, but these obstacles can be avoided by hiking from the bottom into the Subway.
Sun Exposure: There are some cold area that get no sun, but most of the hike is in full sun.
Trail Usage: Heavy, with 80 permits given out a day and most of them are used.

(Subway Entrance picture by Sara Laub)

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