This morning started bright and early with a van ride out to do a little hiking and rappelling in one of the local slot canyons. For those who have never been in this part of the country, a slot canyon is a cut-through in the rock that's taller than it is wide. So imagine hiking through a narrow slot that might be 50 feet tall (or more) but only as wide as your shoulders.
Imagining is what we had to do though, as this is the sign that greeted us on the road to our designated canyon:
Turned out that local (and national) law enforcement picked today to roust a bunch of 'bad guys' who had been hiding out in the desert. As a result, we weren't allowed to head out and hike, to be sure that we didn't get in the way of the action. We did try our Charlie's Angels moves though, just in case they thought we might be able to help round up the bad guys:
You probably won't be surprised when I say that they didn't ask us to participate in the sting ;-) But we did head back to the Kolob Canyon region of Zion National Park, to do a little bit of side hiking and check out the fabulous views. Our guide, Feo, designated this as "the most scenic dead tree in all of Zion", so I figured I should share it with you!
And here's Feo, on a mission to get the best picture possible. He did have our scrapbooks in mind and didn't want us to miss out on anything good. I don't think this is the recommended picture-taking location though!
After the hiking (and strenuous riding around in the van ;-) we were starving for lunch, so we stopped and ate a gourmet meal, prepared for us by the guides. Here's a shot of our desert... homemade chocolate ganache on a piece of homemade pound cake, all wrapped in a pastry shell and topped with powdered sugar. Yum! Good thing I don't eat like this every day!Then we set off to actually do some adventuring (outside the van rides ;-) and hiked up to the top of a route to do some rappelling. Here's Todd, our other guide, helping my friend Lynsay Mahon get suited up for the first rappel.
And here goes Lynsay, over the side of the cliff! I'd show you my picture, but it's hard to take a picture of yourself as you try to make sure your rope doesn't slip away from underneath you.
I loved the rappelling though--and after two fun drops while hanging from a rock climbing harness by a single dangling rope, we headed off to another gorgeous Zion location to do a little more hiking and ride a zip line.
We had to hike down from the side of this canyon, aptly called "The Gap". The whitish trail in the center is actually a wash that runs with water when there's been some recent rain. In the slick dirt at the bottom, we found a recent cougar track--much better than seeing the actual cougar! Here's a shot of me after we had to climb back up the other side of that ravine. And check out my climbing harness... don't we look official and outdoorsy? ;-)
Here's a shot of the spot where we tied in for the Zip Line. I really enjoyed riding across the canyon (dangling for a 700 foot ride, 150+ feet above the canyon floor) but I did have a moment to think, "and WHY am I jumping off the side of this perfectly good cliff?" Whew--I'd do it again in a heartbeat though!
The last part of our adventuring for the day was a short scramble back up the far side of the ravine again, roped in with our climbing harnesses, just to be sure we didn't slip. "On belay?" "Belay on!" "Climbing!" "Climb On!" was heard each time someone got ready to head back up the few feet to the canyon rim.
That was the finish to our adventures, but not to our outdoor experiences for the day! After dinner, we drove out to Tuacahn to see a performance of Elton John & Tim Rice's AIDA.You can just see the state in the background of this picture (that's me on the right). Tuacahn is an outdoor amphitheater created so that the gorgeous red rocks are the backdrop for the stage. And even cooler, there's a river that runs through the scenery behind the stage, and at several points during the musical, the river actually flowed right across the top of the stage and down over the front of the stage!
The performance was fabulous--the costumes, the choreography, the music... "it was better than CATS, I'd see it again and again" ;-) Okay, you caught me, I've never actually seen CATS, but I did enjoy this show.
Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings...but I have no doubt that it will be fabulous, and that morning will arrive before I'm done sleeping ;-) See you tomorrow!
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