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Utah Canyoning (& other stuff)

Our first day in Zion we just did some brief day walks to orientate ourselves

... and encountered this critter! (apparently it was mating season)

then we settled back at camp in our (unintentionally) premium camping chairs

and enjoyed the beautiful sunset

Pine Creek Canyon (16/9/13)

Our first canyon was Pine Creek. A strenuous walk in of about 20m from the car park into the creek meant we were suiting up very early on. This was the first canyon we did - we were nervous to start with since we didn't know what the canyons would be like but it gave us a lot of confidence as it was straight forward and quite similar to many of the Australian canyons (except with bigger drops).

Tom abseiling. The water colour, while unusual to us, was standard for most of the canyons we did.

Tom in Pine Creek. We had been warned the canyon was cold so were wearing spring suits (shorties) under our steamers (full wetsuits). We were luxuriously warm.

Tom in Pine Creek

Tom abseiling

Birch Hollow (17/9/13)

Tom abseiling to get into the creek

This canyon was fairly unspectacular until the final section where there were multiple long abseils down beautiful flutes.

Tom about to abseil.

Tom abseiling. This canyon also had lots of disgusting clay mud in it. We had to take our ropes and wash them in the river was we got back to camp. Not something we ever need to do in Australia!

Looking up after we'd pulled the ropes.

Russell Gulch and The Subway (Left fork of Great West Canyon) (18/9/13)

Tom on the first abseil in Russell Gulch

Tom on the second abseil in Russell Gulch

A narrow-ish section in Russell Gulch. As a canyon Russell Gulch wasn't great - but it was a reasonable way to get into The Subway. (The 'normal' track to the Subway crosses Russell Gulch so you may as well go down it...).

Tom on the first abseil in The Subway.

Tom swimming

Log in the Subway

Tom in the Subway

Tom on the third and final abseil in the Subway

The "subway" section of The Subway

Tom and The Subway. From here it was a fairly long hike downstream (with a short, steep uphill) to get to where we had dropped the car off in the morning.

Middle Echo Canyon (19/9/13)

Tom in beautiful Echo Canyon


Canyon formation

Tom at the start of the amazing acoustic chamber. Pity you can't hear his singing.

Canyon formation. One of the big differences compared to Australia was the thickness of the Navajo sandstone layer which meant the canyons (around Zion) seemed to be much deeper.

Back at camp after 4 successful days of canyoning. That night we saw "Gorging" (a movie about canyoning) at the local cinema and caught up with Deeps, a fellow canyoner, who we met when he visited Australia a couple of years earlier.

Sunflowers around camp were in full bloom. We had a rest day after 4 days on the go.

Orderville Canyon and "The Narrows" (of the Virgin River) (17/9/13)

Tom in Orderville Canyon. The first section is just a walk through and while spectacular goes on for a long time.

Eventually we get to one of the "obstacles" - the only log slide of the trip. We carried a rope and 1 harness for this canyon. We used the rope in 2 places but didn't use the harness.

Log jam!

More beautiful canyon

The "guillotine" - the second obstacle.

Tom below the guillotine.

Tom swimming after a downclimb.

Tom descending the 'moki steps'

Tom armed and ready in The Narrows. The trick was trying to find gaps in the flow of the hundreds of people to take photos.

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