Post Hayduke explorations…

It is now late May and near the end of the season here for us in southern Utah as the temperature is getting a bit too hot. We picked up a rental car though and did some day trips in around the Zion and Bryce National Park area….

Bryce Canyon. We have been here before, but it was hard to resist the mellow pleasant hiking in this popular park with cooler temperatures high up above the lower canyons
Parowan gap north of Cedar City. Southern Utah. An impressive array of pretty abstract looking petroglyphs etched into the rock.
Zion National Park, looking south to the peak of North Guardian Angel
Enjoyable scrambling up slabs on North Guardian Angel
Mellow green pastures in western Zion National Park approaching a cave with pictographs
Looking back out from a pictograph cave in Zion NP
These pictographs are etched out of fire blackened walls in the cave and it seems of unknown age
More pictographs in the cave, this time using white pigment and some crazy looking creatures
You can just see the tent, lower center, on rock slabs south of Hop Valley near Zion National Park
Martina, Heather and Dan. We were grateful to take part in a canyoneering trip arranged by Heather and Dan to Spry Canyon in Zion National Park. Thanks for inviting us!
Some superb scrambling on slabs to approach Spry Canyon
The descent of Spry Canyon involved about 12 rappels (abseils), lots of scrambling and a few dips into dank pools! Grand rock scenery here at the first rappel.
The canyon narrowed up
Brian abseiling (abseil 3 of 12 ?)
Brian trying vainly to avoid one of the deep pools
Dan descending into a pothole of cold water
Martina abseils off an overhang
M at the M&M super store in Las Vegas
Flying out of Las Vegas…

Grand finale to the edge of Zion National Park

For the last section of our Hayduke hike we headed north from the Utah Arizona border to Zion National Park. Typically for us, we deviated from the actual Hayduke route to instead cross an area to the west called Caanan Mountain. Although to be fair to us, the final route used by the Hayduke in Zion NP (Weeping Wall) is currently closed due to rockfall so variants are pretty valid.

We hiked north through the streets of the town of Hildale from the Utah-Arizona state line into Caanan Mountain, the high ground in the background
We soon left the town for a steep ascent up Water Canyon
Into higher ground over beautiful cross-bedded sandstone
The scenery just got better and better – Zion National Park in the background
Colourful campsite on flat ‘slickrock’
We hiked up to the high rim of Water Canyon to see its arch
Looking back down Water Canyon
Some great hiking on the rock slabs
We can’t afford to be choosy when it comes to water! We carried this with us but thankfully later found a better supply
Amidst surreal black iron accretions sitting on top of the cream coloured sandstone
At ‘The Notch’ on the cliff tops looking south across the ‘Arizona Strip’ and back to the edge of the Grand Canyon
This is an old winch or ‘Windlass’ used to lower timber down the 1000ft cliff to the plains below
2nd night camp with grand views to Zion National Park
Morning hiking with Indian paintbrush
Looking towards Zion before descending down an old stock trail
Slow going on this route with energy sapping sand, cross country and here, on an old ‘stock trail’, rubbly descents
…desert now in full bloom…
…bloom…
Back into town to pick up a rental car!

Many thanks for all the help we have received with planning and logistics for this hike from Charlie Neumann, Joe Mitchell, Li Brannfors, Monica Stapleton and Jamal Green; and for support, inspiration and shared enthusiasm from fellow Hayduke hikers Heather K, Nathan K, Mike Tyler, Ryan, Peter, Race, Not Guilty, Sprinkler and ‘Butcha; also the numerous wonderfully generous Americans (and two Danes) who gave us lifts in their cars to town and those we met who gave us fruit, water and kind words of encouragement!