The other day I hinted about a hike we did in Zion where we scrambled down a hillside with J-Man. Here’s a recap of that hike.
Bedge is notorious for finding locations to visit that are off the beaten path. As a photographer he is always looking for places that are unknown to most people and that are photogenic. A lot of the time Bedge will venture out on his own to these unknown locations to scout them out, see if they are do-able with J-Man and to see if they are photogenic. I’ve learned my lesson about going on these scouting trips with Bedge. They can take forever trying to find the particular location or we could get lost up on a plateau at dusk with J-Man on my back. I’m not fond of those particular trips.
Since we were in Zion for a family trip I decided that all 3 of us would go looking for a specific slot canyon that Bedge wanted to possibly photograph. I say possibly because he wasn’t sure the conditions would be right.
This slot canyon is not known to many people and park rangers are pretty hush about it. You need to know the slot canyon by name for the rangers to give you directions. I guess enough people ask about it though because they had a 1/4 page print out of directions for it.
Bedge got the print out and drove us to the starting point. Let me preface that a lot of these scouting trips are not on designated trails, so we have to do route finding on our own. There are usually no GPS coordinates, it’s all by written directions. These directions for this particular hike were just a couple black and white pictures of the area with dotted lines pointing to the destination.
We all donned our packs, cameras and excitement and headed in the direction of the dotted line.
We dropped down the side of the road into a wash and a few feet later started hiking up a slickrock hillside. According to the dotted lines we needed to make it to the top of the pictured hillside. Super easy, as it was a gradual climb and a beautiful day.
UP the hill we go.
Almost to the top.
We made it to the top of the hill only to be met with a downward climb. Not just a gradual or easy downward climb, but a S T E E P slope where if you fell you would be seriously injured or killed.
We stood at the top pondering if we should attempt to go down with J-Man. If it was only me and Bedge there would have been no second thoughts. We would have motored down. J-man on the other hand adds a completely different element to our hiking abilities and the choices we make.
I stood at the top of the slope for a bit checking out each foot and hand placement and how we could do it safely with J-Man or would it be absurd to attempt.
I’m pretty confident in my abilities to climb and scramble down slopes but could I do it with J-Man? Do I have the strength to hold onto him the whole time, the balance to keep us both in place and the mental capacity to not freak out and take it slowly?
I saw the route we would take, the location of each step and where J-Man would be positioned on the way down.
The entire time Bedge kept offering to turn around and explaining that we didn’t have to go down if I wasn’t comfortable with it. Considering I am a pretty protective mom I pondered, analyzed and examined the slope.
I decided to go for it.
1. I wanted to see the slot canyon I saw pictures of that looked awesome.
2. I was pumped with adrenaline and wanted to make the attempt.
3. J-man was all for it, not scared a bit, and I figured it would be a good experience for him.
We very sloooooowly took our first steps.
I repeated over and over to J-Man…
“I want you to concentrate. Watch where your feet are going and listen to what I say.”
“You’re doing great!”
We then got to a portion of the slope where some enormous roots came out of the ground and made their way almost to the bottom of the slope. The roots were large in diameter and strong enough to hold J-Man’s weight. (We certainly tested them out first).
I sat him on the largest root, held him while he slid down and BAM we made it to the bottom. Safely that is.
Positioning J-Man on the long root for the slide down.
Helping J-Man slide down.
Confirming my next move.
Off the root and slowly making our way down.
We made it!
I was so proud of J-Man for listening intently and doing exactly what was asked of him. He was proud of himself for his accomplishment.
As we made our way to the slot canyon with our nerves still in tack but a bit shaky we were met with a slot canyon full of water. Water thigh high (according to our measurement with a long stick) and impassable. Bedge was hoping the water would be frozen. Unfortunately, not.
Too much water
We had a snack, took some photos and J-Man played with his toys in the sand before we made our way back up.
Bedge and J-Man photographing striped ice.
Little dead skunk up on a ledge.
Time to make our way back up.
The saying usually goes…don’t go up something you can’t come down. In this case, don’t go down something you can’t go up. Although we made it to the top I certainly would not have been able to do it without Bedges help. Going up was much more difficult than going down. As we were going up we spotted anchors. Apparently, most people repel down the slope. Ooops.
On our way back to the car, down the simple slickrock hillside, Bedge and I discussed our little adventure. We are pretty sure J-Man is the only 3.5 year old that has been to that slot canyon and that poses the question…
Was it child endangerment to take him on such a risky hike or was it just another Edge adventure?
What do you think? Were we putting J-Man at risk? Would you have taken your tyke down the slope?
No need to call protective services. J-Man is truly safe with us.
P.S. Sorry about the blurry pictures. Took a brand new camera on this trip that was horrible. It got returned when we got home.