Zion National Park, Great West Canyon – Fall, 1977


The Great West Canyon hike begins at the Lava Point lookout, in the Kolob section of Zion NP. Kathy and I arrived there in the Fall of 1977, having heard great things about the hike from our colleagues at the Southwest Outward Bound School.

A steer

Along the way, a steer

0.1GWLavaPtVW#24

The campground at Lava Point, and our beat-up VW Squareback. The aspens have turned.

Maple leaves

Maple leaves

We hiked down off Lava Point into Wildcat Canyon, and travelled SSE, passing the head of the Left Fork of North Creek. North Creek, with its Left and Right Forks, is the same as Great West Canyon. The famed “Subway” section of canyon is located in the Left Fork. We continued cross-country on the same heading until we intersected the drainage of the Right Fork, and found a nice camping spot on a little flat, at the very head of the canyon.

1.ZionGWC#23'7_TSim

View from Lava Point into Wildcat C anyon

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Heading SSE and approaching the junction with the Left Fork drainage

3. ZionGWC#30'7_TSim

Heading downhill towards the Right Fork drainage

Pothole, located close to our campsite

Kathy, at the pothole near our camp

Campsite. Kathy is still in "bed".

Campsite. Kathy is still in “bed”.

The next day we descended into the Right Fork,

Kathy, stemming between the canyon walls

Kathy, stemming between the canyon walls

and soon came to the Black Pool. This shadowed pool would have required a very cold swim if we couldn’t bypass it – but we did. We traversed on ledges to the bottom end of the pool, and then rappelled  (see below) back to the bed of the canyon.

Rappelling into the bed of the canyon

Rappelling into the bed of the canyon

5.ZionGWC#5'77DeN

The lower end of the Black Pool, reflecting a ponderosa pine tree and sunlit cliffs above

GWPinch#7-Edit

Kathy, at a pinch

GWKath#11

The rare sunny spot

GWKath#13

And back into the shade of a slot portion

The bed of the canyon and creek

Boulder and creek, with reflections of sun-lit walls above

GWSeeps#20Sim.05

Seeps

6.ZionGWCAlcove#24'77DeN

Our camp, right by the creek. We spent two nights at the Grand Alcove, the scenic high point of the hike.

Sun gleam on creek

Grand Alcove, sun gleam on creek

Grand Alcove, creek and Box Elder tree

Grand Alcove, creek and Box Elder tree casting a shadow

GWYucca13-Edit

Soapweed yucca

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Grand Alcove, and Kathy

8.ZionGWCanyon#4'77TSim

The seep line in the Grand Alcove

9.ZionGWCKath#29'77TDeN

Kathy, and the seep, in the Grand Alcove

10.ZionGWC#2'77TDeN

Kathy, in the Grand Alcove

GWAlcoveMe87

Me, the Grand Alcove (Kathy Miller photo)

 

GWAlcoveKathSotlight#6

Kathy

Kathy, in the Grand Alcove

Kathy, in the Grand Alcove

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Grand Alcove

Rappelling out of the Grand Alcove. I overlooked telling Kathy to pad her shoulder for the rap[p[el, which resulted in burns she remembers to this day!

Rappelling out of the Grand Alcove. I overlooked telling Kathy to pad her shoulder for the rappel, which resulted in burns she remembers to this day!

13.ZionGWC#33'7_TSim

The lower end of the Grand Alcove, Kathy

GWAlcoveSeep#

Grand Alcove seeps and hanging gardens, much of which is columbine

15.ZionGWC#35'7_ADS.1

Pool, at the lower end of the Grand Alcove

16.ZionGWCPool#9'77ADTS.35

Pool, at the lower end of the Grand Alcove

17.ZionGWCFall#14'77AD

This falls also required a rappel to bypass

18.ZionGWCDoubleFall#19'7_TSim

Nearing the end of the hike

After passing the junction with the Left Fork, we climbed a hill to the Lava Point road, and started hitch-hiking. A couple of locals stopped and proceeded to give us a raft of shit, based on their presumption that we were “Sahara Clubbers”. Of course we were. And, as such, were not very popular in that part of Utah in those days. Probably no different today.

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
This entry was posted in 1970s, Hiking, Photography, Redrock/Sandstone and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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