Like yesterday I had to be up and at the Wilderness Office as soon as it opened. I was good for the “Subway” hike today but tomorrow was the Trans-Zion hike. I had a permit to hike it but I was hoping to get a better campsite along the route. Same as with the hikes, they allow you to reserve campsites months in advance, but they also keep some open for “walk-ins”
There were about 5 people camped out outside the office when I arrived, but thankfully they were all waiting for different hikes than me. I had to go here today regardless because you are required to check-in for your permit sometime the day before your hike. So when I got to desk I not only was able to get a better campsite for the hike tomorrow, which I will explain the change I made later, but I had to say I was present to even do the hike. It is a good policy because if I had not shown up by a certain time, I think they may open them up for other walk-ins. I know it may seem a bit confusing, but rest assured I had it all orchestrated before I left Ann Arbor.
I actually switched to the Watchman Campground this morning. It is one that accepts reservations as I was able to get one online a month earlier. I guess I could have stayed in the first-come South Campground now that I had a site, but with ony a tarp it was not that hard to move my "home".
After getting everything squared away I gathered my gear and drove to the “Subway” trailhead. On the below map I am headed from area “Visitor’s Center” back south, west and then north on a road up to the mark “Left Fork”
Here is the page on the NPS website for the hike:
And another website that promotes multiple ways of getting there. As mentioned I am taking the one that does not require ropes:
I am driving a Dodge Charger. It is the first car I have driven that does not actually have a key, but rather just a keychain that needs to be within a certain radius of the car to work. I was paranoid that I was gunna lock it the car or the trunk as I was packing and unpacking, but of course that is part of the point of the system, you can’t lock it in the car as the door will just open if you try to do such thing. Anyway, I had set the keys on the trunk of the car and forgot about it. I drove out of the campground and onto the road. I heard a brief rattling on the car and kept driving for a few hundred feet thinking, “What could that sound have been?” Then of course it came to me like a punch to the face, “it was my keys!”
With the new system, when the keys were sitting on top of the car, it started even though they weren’t in my pocket. I stopped along the busy main road and started walking back along the road. I walked up and down the road for like 10 minutes. All I was thinking about was how screwed I would be without the keys. I could not do the hikes. I would have to have the rental car company drive out here. I made sure not to turn the car off when I stopped along the road so I thought that maybe I could drive back to Vegas without it turning off and be back by tomorrow. Then I stopped. “How can the car still be on if the keys fell off the car?” I assume that once you get out of that few feet radius not only would the car not only not start but it would also shut off. I walked back to the car and saw this.
They were still sitting on top the car and I never thought to check when I got out. I was so happy to see them I only quickly thought about what an idiot I was and continued on my way.
Parking at the trailhead, I did not wear my hiking boots because I read that there was lots of hiking along the river and crossing back and forth. I wore my Chaco sandals because they had a decent grip. It was one of the few smart decisions I made on this trip.
The trail followed along the top of a plateau for a mile before opening up into a river that carved the canyon and the eventual “Subway” spectacle I was heading towards.
I dropped down very quickly and followed the riverbed north by bounding over boulders and splashing through water, laughing maniacally at those who wore hiking boots and were carefully trying to avoid getting wet.
A couple animal shots below.
The first resembles some sort of Garter snake we have back east. He was pretty long as you can see his body on the lower half and then his head popping out above the log on the top right. I would estimate about 5 feet. Looking at him, it reminded me of the Lowly Worm from a Richard Scarry books.
It took me a while to remember what this worm was called or who was the author of the book. I first typed into google “snake with hat” and came up with these
Seriously, what is wrong with people?
Above is a frog that I thought showed incredible camouflage. I tried to look it up on this Zion Amphibian site and guess it was a Canyon Tree Frog, but who knows.
I carried on to a few waterfalls as I got closer to the end of this 9 mile out and back hike.
I actually ran into the Ranger who issued me the pass yesterday. He asked for me permit (you need to carry at all times to show you are not trespassing or hiking illegally – only 80 permits to hike this trail are issued each day, but I only saw about 10 people the whole time) and then noticed my broken hand, which I had hid from me yesterday. He said something about it probably being difficult to climb some of the boulders, but thankfully did not care too much. Then again, not much he could do about it now.
I finally got to the Subway. I very cool section of the canyon that was carved by the river in such a fashion that it appears like an underground subway tube.
If you forward the below video link to the 8 minute mark you can see more of this section of the hike
I waded through waist deep water to get to a section where this waterfall lies
Below is a shot I took of the Subway that is the angle that you may have seen from hundreds of more famous photographers then me.
After chillin’ out for a bit, I headed back along the river and up out of the canyon to the car
Another quiet night. Tomorrow I had to be up at 5am to pack up and meet shuttle for Trans-Zion Trek.