if you could hie…

I’m way behind with this space lately. Life is busy and other things seem to be the priority these days. Fortunately, I was able to schedule a Labor Day weekend backpacking trip with Col and MPK before my six week grind in Minneapolis started.

Originally, MPK and I though we’d head into the Dixie National Forest, but we read some posts online saying the bugs were really bad and the scenery was still a mess from all the fires over the last couple years. Instead, we decided to backpack  in the Kolob Canyon area of Zion NP, a more out-of-the-way section of the park that doesn’t see quite as much traffic as the main canyon.

MPK flew in late Friday night and as soon as Col got off work Saturday morning we headed north to the upper section of the park. We started at the Lee Pass trailhead and immediately enjoyed some beautiful scenery as we started our descent toward La Verkin Creek. I made a mental note of the immediate steep descent since MPK likes to take us on grueling hikes where we’re climbing out of steep canyons at the end of the trip. I put those thoughts aside as soon as we got to the bottom and saw the creek running full with water…this would not be a Death March. Of course, no trip can be without some mishap or close call. As I was climbing out of a dry creek bed, I put my hand toward a rock to brace myself and almost got a handful of a very large rattlesnake as he slithered away. We were all in too much shock to even take a picture, but he was HUGE.

We made it to our backcountry site by late afternoon and enjoyed our first evening soaking in the creek under beautiful clear skies. The great weather continued into Sunday as we set out for a day hike to the Kolob Arch and Beartrap Creek. The trail alternates between flat, sandy stretches and rocky, steep climbs, but the constant flow of the creek makes for a very pleasant hike the entire way. We made it to Beartrap Creek and took the split from the main canyon to head up to the waterfall. The 30 foot waterfall spills down into a rock grotto and is really beautiful. Col and MPK waded into the pool below it and were joined by a small watersnake that turned MPK into a squealing 13 year old girl.

We headed back down the canyon the way we came and took the split off to Kolob Arch. Maybe it was the heat of the late afternoon. Maybe it was the very steep and rocky half-mile trail. Maybe it was the weariness of hiking all day. But, I didn’t think the effort to get to the arch viewing point was worth what we saw. Yes, I’m a horrible person. We did find a nice shady spot on some rocks next to the flowing water to take a little afternoon nap, and that made me feel a bit more cheery.

We enjoyed a second relaxing evening soaking in the creek before packing up Monday morning and heading out of the canyon. The climb out was steep and got the better of me a few times, but we made it to the top around noon before it got too hot. We headed home and enjoyed a BBQ with MPK and Lisa and Jeanne on the patio before sending him back to SLC Tuesday morning.

This was definitely one of my favorite MPK adventures.

Here is the complete photoset from this trip: Kolob Canyon Backpack – September 2012

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