Friday, September 25, 2009

The Zion Subway

This is not at all what 'The Subway' at Zion Canyon looks like, but when I got home from this trip, I had to document the experience in some fashion, so I got out my chalks and made this drawing. I couldn't really find words at the time to describe what had happened on this hike, and I'm not sure I can now, either. Let me just lay it out without trying to be poetic or pretentious (which I am usually wont to do).

My hiking buddy and I had decided last minute to take a jaunt down to Southern Utah. We had taken several hikes over a two-day period and on the way out of the canyon, we decided we needed just one more short hike (this was before you had to have reservations and special transportation to most of the hikes).

We took a side road and pulled off where several cars were parked. We decided this was a good indication there might be a nice hike there. I don't remember what time it was exactly when we started walking, but I know it was after lunch.

We were clipping along at a pretty good pace, when we started getting thirsty and wondered if we should turn around and call this the extent of our hike. As we were contemplating this, another couple approached us on the trail. We asked them if it was worth it to continue to the end and they assured us it was. Up to this point, we didn't even know we were hiking 'The Subway.' These kind people gave us what water they had left so we could continue.

We reached the point where the water is shallow and glistening over the rocks. We walked along in awe as it became obvious why this place was named 'The Subway.' There was no literal light at the end of this tunnel like my drawing suggests, but metaphorically, the physicality of working to get to a place of inspiration necessitated adding the punched-through paper and tissue bits of light. (pictures of the Subway follow post, so I won't try to describe further here). Several people were there, all taking pictures. I was almost glad we hadn't brought a camera so we could just soak it all in. It seemed like we were in a separate world, like that Tom Beringer movie where the bounty hunter rides through the waterfall to a primitive Indian tribe. (Isn't it sad that in an 'ah ha' moment I would reference A MOVIE?). After staying in a trance-like state for several minutes, we realized the sun was lowering in the sky so we headed back to the car.

This is where the hike took on a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" aspect. It was getting dark and I couldn't see well and that's probably why I began skipping from rock to rock in a surreal fashion. It seemed like I floated from log to stone to dirt. I suppose I hit my second wind, but it seemed like more than this. Every word I try to use here seems trite - 'transcendent' - 'floaty' - 'surreal' (I feel like a teenager who says, "like, I mean, it's like...)

When we reached the car, the sun was down and we were TIRED and THIRSTY! We had two Stewart's Key Lime Sodas in the cooler and I'm tellin' ya - nothing ever tasted better in my life!

I've never had an experience that comes this close to addressing all the senses like this Subway hike.

We were in a stunned state of exhausted bliss. I suppose what made it so exciting was how spontaneous and unexpected it was. I just love it when life reaches out and grabs you like this.

1 comment:

  1. Very surreal, seems appropriate, and beautiful. Life's unexpected moments bring joy and gratitude. I've been to Zion but did not know about this place. Thanks.


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