Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Keyhole Canyon

I have mixed feelings about Keyhole Canyon in Zion National Park. The first time I went through it was two or three years ago and it was canyoneer heaven. Beautiful light even if it was quite dark, deep but freezing cold water, a few slightly challenging segments, but all of it fun. My wife, Gloria, was with me and that made a difference, too, sharing the canyon with her. Unfortunately, just before we got out of the dark corridors and into Zion's bright sunshine, I slipped while in waist-high, murky water and my camera with a flash took a good dunk. I had gotten cocky. Throughout the two-hour excursion, anytime I was in deep water, the camera was safe inside two dry sacks. And whenever I was sloshing through waist-deep water, I held the camera above my head. And then near the end, without thinking, I held the camera only as high as my chest. My feet, feeling about the bottom of the water for purchase, went into a hole. Splunk. If the camera had been above my head, it might not have gone in. Oh, well, I thought. I've got insurance. I got cocky there, too. I had been doing some wild things in the mountain climbing department and busted a few camera parts the previous year. So the insurance company balked at paying for more expensive equipment. Eventually, they relented after I filed a complaint with the state's insurance commission, but afterward, they cancelled my policy.

So the second time I entered the canyon last month, I was ever so careful. But strangely, I didn't see so much to photograph this time. We blasted through the canyon and that was that. I did get a few pictures, however. Can't leave a canyon without a few shots.

The canyon approach climbing up slickrock.
Jerri making her way through the first of the slots.

The first rappel into murky, yucky, cold water that came up to my neck. Notice how smooth and rounded the pothole is. Climbing out involved grabbing a nubbin of rock and heaving my body over the edge.
Others had help getting out of the pothole.
My pack.

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