After the Grand Canyon, we went to Zion National Park. When we lived in Colorado, we had seen pictures of a number of our friends doing this awesome thing called canyoneering. The gist is, hike in the desert, find cool canyons, and then hike or swim or maybe even use ropes to rappel down them. Amazon Prime has a cool movie about it if you’re interested called Gorging. We both liked hiking and climbing and swimming and ropes and knots and rappelling so it seemed right up our alley. But it also sounded like a really easy way to kill yourself.
So we decided to do it the right way and for Allison’s birthday, I bought her (and myself if I’m being honest) a full day class with Zion Adventure Company to learn how to go off and do it ourselves. We were looking forward to the class but we also wanted to practice exploring in canyons. We had a couple days between arriving at Zion and taking the class so after work, we went for a trail run at the Red Hollow Canyon Trail and started at the bottom so that we wouldn’t get in too much trouble.
And we had a ball! One of the coolest parts was the fact that even though it was a “trail” there weren’t any trail markers. With all of the canyons we’ve done, there has been a ton of navigating with GPS and topographical maps and compasses just to figure out where to go which make it really different than other hiking.
So next up was a trip that had been a recommendation from our Antelope Canyon tour guide, Buckskin Gulch. Buckskin Gulch can be done as a backpacking trip for 14 miles but we decided to just do an out and back trip to some 800 year old petroglyphs.
And it was awesome!!! The scenery when canyoneering is unlike anything else we get to see on normal hikes. The walls give you a feeling of age and depth that you don’t get climbing up a mountain. We also learned that traversing any canyon involves a lot of problem solving. In Buckskin Gulch there was a 10 foot drop that we had to figure out 1) if we got down it, could we climb back up? And 2) how we could climb down it. I’d say we were hooked on this sport before we even took the class to learn the technical aspects. But we were still really interested in learning more about the ropework and rappelling. Especially when we got to do stuff like this:
One of the coolest parts of the class was that the day after the class, we could borrow all of the gear and go do our own adventure in Zion National Park. So we got to go wild in the beginner friendly Keyhole Canyon.