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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Night In The Rain For This Hiker

I hike the Right Fork of North Creek in Zion Park on Saturday to get photos of Double Falls while stream flows are up. It was a great hike in a beautiful canyon, and I did get nice photos.

A thunderstorm hit as I hiked back. It really dumped and the trail turned to gooey clay. Hiking is slow when you have five inches of mud stuck to the bottom of your boots and you struggle to keep from sliding on every little hill. I pushed hard but failed to get out of the canyon before dark.

Then I faced a decision: Do I try to climb the switchbacks up the cliff face in the dark? I decided it was too dangerous and so I spent the night sitting under a rock trying to stay dry. I had emergency supplies and it wasn’t cold. Ok, it was a little chilly when the wind blew rain into my face. I was uncomfortable but never in real danger.

I write this as a reminder that spring conditions can change in a hurry in Utah’s backcountry. If you go, be prepared for anything. This is a great time of year to enjoy outdoor recreation, just do it carefully and safely.

- Dave Webb


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