Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

April 2, 2013

Keyhole Slot Canyon, Zion NP, Utah

Zion National Park.  Famous for its slot canyons.  Except it was really early in the season and we didn't have wetsuits or drysuits.   So we decide to just go look in the top of one, which turns into something of an epic adventure in itself.   Our first stop above the tunnel in upper Zion is at the wrong place...we are navigating off Randy's memories of a quick stop here 5 years ago and my memories of looking it up on google earth the night before.   Memories in this case appeared to be faulty, but we amused ourselves by running around on the slickrock.   I climbed up to a small peak, and then found that everything looked really steep coming back down...luckily my sandals gripped the smooth rock better than my mind thought they should.  And I made it down again, albeit not without spending some adrenaline.

A balancing act while in a dry section of the slot canyon
Our next stop was just down the road, in the right spot to go see the bottom of Keyhole Slot Canyon, which looked rather deep and cold.   We grabbed a rope and some gear and attempted to navigate to the topside of the small slot, where I wanted to learn how to rappel and ascend, hopefully while staying dry!  Our route choice left us high and dry on the slickrock, until we climbed down a gully to get into the canyon.   Of course, it wasn't supposed to be possible to climb into Keyhole, so we must not be where we thought we were.   We turned downstream, figuring we were only a short distance from the road, and how hard could it be to get there?   Besides, we had a rope!    The unknown slot canyon started immediately, and it was a quick learning curve for Aidan and I, as we hadn't done much of this. The goal was to keep Aidan's shoes dry and to not drop the backpack into the water.   Operation "Save Aidan" ensued.  So did much hysterical laughter, some splashing, and many awkward maneuvers on everyone's part to wiggle over and around the waist-deep water holes.

In the end, Aidan did stay dry by riding on mom's shoulders, with Lara nobly standing in the water to get him across.  We were all mostly wet by then, and at the last curve of the slot, I picked a chunk of ice  out of the water.   COLD.
Definitely not dry anymore, Aidan!
 Another few steps and we were looking deep into the real rappel of Keyhole.  Guess we had been in upper Keyhole slot canyon.   The water at the bottom of the rappel looked deep and cold, and no amount of bribes could tempt Nick and I into doing the deed.  Luckily we found the trail to go out that we should have come in on, and made a quick descent to the RV.   Then we (wet enough not to care) walked back up the bottom of Keyhole to see how far we could go before swimming.

Aidan immediately fell in, negating all our efforts to keep his shoes dry, but by then no one cared.  Nick did go for a swim, and emerged really cold and grateful for the hot chocolate and dry towels we had brewed up while waiting for him to exit the slot again.   The journey definitely whet my appetite for more slots, and when the weather gets hot that cold water is actually going to feel good!

Randy waits for Nick to get back from his "swim"
Rob and sister Lara

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