HAC Zion

HAC Arizona and Utah met up for the July 4, 1997 weekend in Zion backcountry for a 19 mile hike through the Right Fork of North Creek.  Day one carried us through an estimated seven miles of dry brush, dirt, sand, and sandstone cliffs, including one long double-rappell.  We camped in the sand that night.

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Charlene, Jerry, Shaun, Denise, Ben, , Stephanie, Kennen, and Shaundra on day one

We found our first water on day two and filtered it from small yellowish pools caught in tiny pools.  Tadpoles were abundant, frogs common, and a dead lizard or two were even floating there.  Sport drink mix helped cover the flavor (no worse than lots of city water, anyway) and made us forget what we were drinking.   

By mid-afternoon, the pools had grown considerably, including the Black Pool.   This deep pool lay in a narrow slot canyon and was too deep to touch bottom.   Most of the group scaled the side of the canyon (skitchy), hauled packs up with a rope, and rappelled into the pool near the far end where the water was only waist deep.   Two of us opted for the more refreshing route and swam frantically through the numbing water (less than 100').  Clear pools of water grew more and more common, and we camped that night at the Grand Alcove.



We awoke late on day three and enjoyed our scenic camp area.  The stream had carved a deep slot between the east and west sides of the alcove.  The east side (where we camped) was dwarfed by an overhanging cliff that rose over 200' above our heads and dripped water to where we stood and watched.  The accoustics were great, and some of the group spent at least half an hour singing there. We finally broke camp and rappelled to a wide white-sand beach where the slot opened 100' below the east rim.   Some dove into the refreshing pool there while others rapped the 80' waterfall less than a quarter mile down-canyon.  Everyone swam and sunned there for at least an hour before we could break ourselves away--so long without water made these spots all the more precious.

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Shaun and Denise cool their heels



Double Falls was the last waterfall on our trip, and we spent quite a while here as well, feeding the tiny fish and leaping through the falls.

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Denise and Stephanie take the plunge


Other than when a few people tripped across a bee's nest and got stung a few times, and besides a few annoying encounters with the dreaded black flies, the rest of the hike was an easy trudge through an increasingly-warm river filled with tadpoles and frogs.  We saw three colorful snakes within one mile, including a diamondback rattle snake that we passed five feet away from.

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Ben, Stephanie, Shaundra, and Kennen follow the stream

By the time we reached the confluence of the Right and Left (Subway) Forks, found the trail up over the cliffs and to the parking lot, night had fallen.   Jerry shuttled drivers up to pick up their cars while the rest of us kicked back on the gravel or massaged each others' sore shoulders.  We camped on Jerry's lawn in St. George that night before going our separate ways home.

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