Monday, May 22, 2006

Giving Misery company

Adventure Report: They say misery loves company, so we decided to give her some. Time to head down to Zion National Park for some more slot canyon adventure, this months trip? Misery Canyon.

Misery Slot Canyon near Zions National ParkWhy would anyone want to descend a canyon named Misery? What makes a canyon so miserable that it would warrant such a name? What obstacles would we encounter? What kind of creatures lived in the deep depths of this narrow slot canyon dropping into the East Fork of the Virgin River, just outside of the Zion National Park boundary?

After a late start on Friday night we finally reached a camp spot near the river around 2:00 a.m. We only had one day to spend outside and we had to make the best of it. We can sleep when we are dead so we were up by 6:00 a.m. and off to the trailhead.

The hike began near the famous Checkerboard Mesa, the first major landmark encountered when entering Zion from the East Entrance. The climb up a large canyon between Checkerboard Mesa and another unnamed mesa looked steep and long. Maybe this was the miserable part of the day?

Natural Arch, okay so it's a bridge, in Zions National ParkThe approach canyon started the day off right. Tall cliffs through a deep open canyon covered with all types of vegetation. The contrast of green tress and bushes in front of soaring red and white cliffs is one of my favorite features of the Utah desert, and Zion never disappoints, even in random, unnamed, un-hiking-guided canyons like this one. The canyon was beautiful and shaded in the morning light, nothing miserable about this.

After crossing the pass we made our way along the base of the cliffs and into the drainage we planned to descend that day. The canyon was wide and shallow but we marveled at the micro eco-systems found in each pool of water we passed. Insects, tadpoles, frogs, and who knows what else all called these pools home.

After a bit of walking the canyon closed in and off we went. Surely things would get miserable soon. We were all anxious to see what was around each corner.

The rest of the story, including more photos.

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