Hannah and I probably violated some “code of conduct” for vacationers by crawling out of bed at 6:15 our first morning at Zion National Park, but The Subway was a permit-only hike, and we had to be among the first in line at the back country permit window that morning to gain passage to our favored adventure. We figured we’d snag a permit, eat some breakfast and get in a morning run before the boys even noted signs of daylight.
Zach and Matt grabbed their own breakfast next door at Cafe Soleil (which became our favored morning nutrition stop) while Hannah and I ran the Pa’ rus Trail (“Rushing Water). That trail was a simple paved affair with some marvelous views of our stunning surroundings. There would be nothing simple about The Subway.
After a false and somewhat comical start on what we later dubbed the “pseudo-Subway” trail, we found the real trail head for our day’s endeavor off of Kolob Terrace Road. We reapplied sunscreen, strapped on our packs and set off on a red sand trail through a juniper woods.
It was hot –well into the 100’s– but we had water, food and a lot of enthusiasm. When the sparse woods ended at the sheer edge of a cliff, and the trail ahead appeared better suited to small goats, however, I had a moment of doubt. Were my kids up to this? Was I? I have a mental “wobble” with heights which is why I have regularly pushed myself to confront them. While this has worked well for me, I still house a slightly unreasonable fear for my children at heights above, say, the low dive at the swimming pool. Could I really allow my kids to creep along edges that gave me chills in stifling heat?
It became a team thing, and that made all the difference. No one stepped down without reaching back to help the next. We called out the “loose rocks” and “slippery” sand spots. It took almost forever in the intense heavy heat, but eventually we reached the Left Fork of North Creek some 400 feet below and soaked ourselves in the cooling waters.
We were in another world now and knew we were walking into a new world of wonderful.