Thursday, September 11, 2008
Zion and Behunin Canyon
Last weekend I got to go with some friends down to Zion National Park. We drove down Friday afternoon, and got back late Saturday night (actually, it was Sunday morning). Friday evening, after the four hour drive to get to our campsite, we ventured into the park to hike Angel's Landing. I had done the same hike back in March, with the whole thing under a few feet of snow. This time there was no snow, and the hike was just as spectacular. We got to the top half an hour or so after sunset. We didn't stay long because it was getting so dark. In fact the descent back to the valley floor was rather treacherous-we had only one flashlight between the five of us. It was very hard to see, and any real slip would have resulted in a fast, airy trip to the bottom, some 1488ft straight down.
We spent the night at a FREE campsite just outside the park. We met three other carloads of people I didn't know, but who soon became my friends, and the night was a blast.
Saturday morning, the whole group started up the trail to Angel's Landing. Four of us split off onto the West Rim Trail, and continued on for another hour and a half or so to the top of Behunin Canyon. We spent the day navigating the 2000 vertical feet between the top of the canyon and the valley floor. The descent included 9 rappels, including several over one hundred feet (the tallest was 165ft), sketchy downclimbs, a short swim, lots of scrambling, and, in my case, a dip in a pool of the most foul, putrid, disgustingly stale water imaginable. In other words, everything you could want from a canyon.