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Last year, I hiked the Subway in Zions National Park. This is the type of hike most people first do in their teens or twenties. I’m in neither. My sis called the day before we would have to drive down to say she still had two openings on her permit if we were interested. When my DH said it was doable, I squealed (like a six year old girl). I think I might have even clapped my hands.

From the beginning of the hike when we passed through a lovely wooded area I thought, “If this were all, it would be worth it.” Then the trail opened to slick rock with rolling, rippling formations that astound. Again, “If this were all, it would be worth it.” Pretty much, I kept repeating that to myself during the whole hike.

The hike is challenging with rappels and swims (short ones, but since I can’t swim yet—intimidating—especially the place where the water is dark, the walls are slick, and if I were to sink there is no way anyone is ever going to find me 100 feet below. I’m sure it’s at least that far down. There are also plenty of scrambles over boulders, channels to jump across while trusting the hand of the guy on the other side to grab you, and for fun, a few places to sit on your rear and just slide with the water over smooth rock to the next level.

Last year I wore hiking boots until we got to the water, then switched to some water sandals. This was cumbersome so this year we are wearing hiking sandals made for water trails. But there was a place after the last rappel where the water skims over the red rock surface next to the river. There are also several round holes in the rock filled with the clear greenish water. I had my boots on and decided to change into my sandals. There was one spot that was dry where my 13 year-old nephew stood.  I asked him if I could have that spot to change my shoes. He agreed and took a step backward, right into one of the holes! Swoosh! He disappeared from sight.

Fortunately, he can swim. However, the water was icy cold. When he popped right back up, I helped pull him up, fearfully pleading, “Don’t tell your mother about this!”

Actually I finally told her about a month ago and she laughed. Whew.

Anyway it is an amazing place—there are countless pictures on line. The last part of the hike tends to get tedious just because it is so long, and after hiking 8-9 hours, it doesn’t matter that you’re still in gorgeous scenery, weaving back and forth and through the river, you just want to curl up in a bed and sleep ‘til Christmas. And then comes the wall. The 400 foot vertical assent to get out of the gorge we spent the day in. But bragging rights come at the parking lot above, not in a humiliating air-flight rescue. We climbed.

Needless to say, when we got home the next day, we were still high with the accomplishment and right away phoned our children to tell them what we had done. Our son was a bit put out that we had done what he’d talked of doing for about ten years. So to make amends we promised we’d take them this year.

And that is where we’re going in two more weeks. Unfortunately, I still can’t swim. (Though I’ve had a few lessons and hope to get another one in.) My son says he’ll bring me some pretty arm floaties like my granddaughter wears.

And my knees have decided to get old on me. Jeepers.

After a couple of weeks of pain (brought on by a new work-out that included squats) my son insisted I go see the doctor and the end result is I am now in physical therapy. I do my exercises twice a day (no more squats etc.)—pushing the muscles to exhaustion. This really isn’t that hard, but my quads have started shaking half way through the sets. It’s not just my knees that have decided to remind me that they’ve already logged 5% of a millennium. I just glare at them and say, “Methuselah would not be impressed.”

But I am glad to be going. Last year we didn’t take pictures. This time I hope to amend that. I want evidence that I hiked the Subway. Or at least made it to the dark pool where I was never heard from again.

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