Zion: Checkerboard Canyon in the Summer Heat

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In this kind of heat, even in Zion it is hard to find reasonable objectives. We chose Checkerboard with an early start. Skipping along Dakota Ridge in the early morning light was the plan... and we got some of that.

Early morning start

Early morning start

We, in this case, was Amanda and Jesse from ZAC, and me of course. 5:55 am was a reasonable start. Amanda got almost two hours of sleep. I got six, good enough. Hand the big rope to Amanda, the small rope to Jesse, and off we go. Following the ridge turned out to be an excellent route. Relatively free of brush, it also offered easy navigation, walking with the sun at our back, with a little bit of wind.  Four hours approach, perhaps a tad less.

Along the ridge, still smiles.

Along the ridge, still smiles.

The canyon, as usual, delivered up the goodies. The first set of raps, in fact, 90% of the canyon, was in the shade. This was good. The few places in the full sun let us know that it was darn stinkin' hot out.  We sashayed our way through the canyon. Conditions were dry until near the end, where a few pools gave us a bit of relief. Wading up to waist deep, and then...  ULP...   What IS that smell?  "That smell" turned out to be a recently dead deer in the next pool. Thankfully recently dead, as it was stinky and fly-ridden, but still more or less whole. The wonderful dead-deer elixir felt so good on our bushwhacking whacked-up leg wounds. (No pictures). We quickly rapped the next drop and hoped for fresher water to rinse off in...

Rapping into a pool

Rapping into a pool

We soon came to the wonderful geometry of the final rap. Down the flute we went.

Jesse on the Final Rappel

Jesse on the Final Rappel

Couple hours hiking out the Narrows.  Humph.  A bus ride, a car ride, a car fetch. Makes for a long day:  4:45 am to 10:00.  Urgh!

NOTE: it rained hard two days later - who knows where that deer has ended up.