The Subway

Zion National Park, Utah

June 13, 2007

Dave Svilar, Jill


Jill appears as a mysterious figure in one of the desert Southwest's most unique features - the Subway.  Sporting canyoneers of all abilities approach from the top and photo geeks from all over the world converge on the lower part (seen here).  Jill and I combined a dash of sporty canyoneer and a sprinkle of tripod totin' photo geek to make it one, long, relaxing day.  Pure joy!

Jill and I both have grown to love the desert Southwest - as long as it's not summer.  Zion can roast under the summer sun like other parts of the desert, but unlike its mostly dry counterparts Zion provides a relief during the hot afternoon hours.  Zion has numerous opportunities to get in the water.  The most famous of these outings being the Virgin Narrows and only slightly less known is the magnificent Subway.

The day began with a car shuttle necessitated by our desire to travel from top to bottom.  I instantly fell in love with the Kolob Terrace section of the park as I waited by the road for nearly 30 minutes for a car to drive by.  The first car picked me up and drove me 7 miles up the road to where Jill waited.  A pleasant, descending hike through pine forests and over slickrock brought us to the Left Fork drainage.  We chose to rap over a large boulder, but could have easily downclimbed if we had not brought harnesses.

From here we waded and swam through numerous beautiful pools that kept our bodies refreshed despite the intense desert sun.  Moving as slow as possible we were amazed that we still found ourselves passing other groups and in some constricted areas having to wait.  It's no wonder there is a quota on the number of people allowed on this stretch.

With her core body temperature closer to 98.6 than our previous days outing Jill was notably more cheerful and upbeat.  Just like the previous outing we were advised to rent wetsuits, but just like the previous outing Jill decided that for $11 a bit of hypothermia was preferable.  As it turned out, the Subway was a completely different experience because the lower canyon walls allowed the sun to shine.

We took our time - and then some - on the way out taking photos and enjoying the deteriorating scenery.  Jill's obsession over spotting the purported dinosaur tracks paid off an hour from the truck.  Upon reaching the truck I lingered just a bit longer than usual in the evening twilight knowing that my "last" desert trip had come to an end and I was now staring an ill-advised ultramarathon in the face. 

Jill emerges from the first of many dunks in the refreshingly chilly creek.


Unlike the previous day in Pine Creek, Jill appears to enjoy her swim.  I can thank the sun for putting her in a good mood.


Donning harnesses that we didn't really need Dave and Jill take time to dry out after the longest and coldest swim of the day.


A unidentified canyoneer swims the long dark channel - marked by the chockstone appearing over his head.


The lovely Keyhole Falls marks the beginning of the grand finale.


"Davey!  Take my picture in this hole."


Subway Falls was the climax of numerous cascades over brilliant red colored rock.


- July 2007

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