WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE A HIKE, Part 2:
Hiking Allows You to Conquer Your Fears!
In Part 1 of this hiking series my family was challenged on Antelope Island. This time I’m focusing on a more selfish goal that I accomplished as a mom. I’ve always wanted to try a canyoneering hike into a slot canyon. This opportunity arrived for me when I was able to go to Pine Creek Canyon in Zion National Park. I was nervous because it was my first slot canyon. I knew it would be difficult, but didn’t realize how much it would test my body and mind. I was hanging from a rope 90 feet in the air! That is a fear I never even knew I had. A dream or nightmare, however you’d like to see it….I had a fear and conquered all because I chose to TAKE A HIKE! It’s possible for moms to get out and have new experiences too. Here’s some more helpful information for your hiking trip through Pine Creek Canyon.
Directions to Zion National Park.
Need a Topo Map of Pine Creek Canyon.
It’s a day time hike anytime of the year. Most groups will start hiking the canyon early in the day. We went in summer during the GOOD conditions. (It was still chilly when we got in and out of the water. Our guide brought a wetsuit).
I found information about conditions in different seasons:
Pine Creek is almost always a good hiking option, it changes season to season:
Spring -can mean melting snow and water flowing through the canyon. Rappels may have flowing water and the down climbs can be harder. The water is COLD!
Summer and Fall – Usually good conditions in Pine Creek, but water levels vary greatly. Beware of summer monsoons!
Winter – VERY full, with flowing water and icy conditions. Be very prepared for ice flowing/falling. Ice makes for a harder descent and VERY cold temperatures. Although, warm winter temperatures can cause significant flow through this canyon.
Unexperienced anxious mom, not your first choice for this hiking trail? Fortunately our group brought along a more experienced guide to help us through the technical canyon. It’s recommended to have a smaller group of 6 or less, If your group is larger, break it into two smaller groups. Make sure you have an experienced climber in each group. It’s best that everyone know how to repel BEFORE entering the canyon.
This hike requires technical gear, training and a will to SURVIVE to complete =). I was worried I would not make it out alive, but here I am writing all about this grand experience…So, it’s possible if you prepare and be careful during the hike.
Distance: Total miles 1.4 (.5 slot and Exit .9)
Average Time: 5 hours
Equipment: 200′ rope, webbing, harness, rappel device, map, dry bag, helmet and a wetsuit.
Technical: Last rappel is the longest at 100′. Pine Creek also requires cold water swimming and awkward start rappels.
ACA Canyon Rating: 3B II
Difficulty: Technical canyon where rappelling skills are needed. The approach and exit (hiking sections) are easier on this canyon than most of Zion’s slot canyons.
Permits: Required Check the weather report before attempting this canyon. Do not go if it looks like rain.
(Technical Information found HERE)
Stop at the visitor center and pick up a permit. Your permit will probably be checked at the trailhead by the ranger manning the Zion Tunnel kiosk.
Take Highway 9 west from the visitors center towards the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. The hike ends at the 2nd switchback up Highway 9 (second from either direction). If you have a second car this is where you want to leave it. This is the Lower Trailhead. If you don’t have a second car it is easy to find a ride through the tunnel after you complete the canyon. Displaying a large, easy to read sign stating “Next Trailhead” will speed up the hitching process. This is also a good time to take 5 minutes and walk down to the creek so you will recognize your exit point.
Drive through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and park in the small parking lot on the right. This is the Upper Trailhead. This is also the trailhead for the very popular Pine Creek Canyon Overlook hike. If you have a few extra minutes this hike will let you view a portion of your route from above and is worth the effort.
(Trailhead Information Found HERE)
Now you can add this to you bucket list or at least encourage you to get out on your own adventure and conquer your fears!
What have you done to that to conquer your fears?
Part 4 – Moab, Mill Creek