NO&YO Ambassador Sammy from NYC ventures out on the most jaw dropping and envious trips. Being a health and fitness fanatic, he keeps up in great shape which helps him on his unforgettable adventures that are always strenuous in nature and test your limits every time. If you are planning a trip to Utah this summer or always wanted to go and experience the majestic rocks, his recent trip experience and awesome photos should give you an idea of what to expect.
A return to “The Subway” Zion National Park
By Sammy Siljkovic
In late April of 2013 I visited Zion National Park in Utah for the first time. A trip planned by me and my brother Semo while watching an outdoor adventure show on television where the host was hiking a trail in one of the many National Parks located in Southern Utah.
A little research via the web and plans were set, we fly into Vegas, hop into a rental car and drive east to a town called Springdale.
For six straight days my brother and me explored and adventured through the park, quickly establishing a routine of hiking all-day and recovering all night. On the first day we knocked out “Angels Landing” which is one of the more popular hikes. With Angels Landing out of the way and first day in the books, the rest of the trip was spent canyoneering. This was both mine, and my brother’s first taste of hiking slot canyons and we were more than amped to dive right in.
We hiked the famous “Subway” which is named for the tunnel like formation created by years of corrosion from wind and flowing water. Other canyons we visited included “Pine Creek” and “Keyhole” canyons. All of which I promised myself I’d visit again…
Fast forward to April 2015. I had always thought about returning to Zion National Park because it was just too much damn fun. I wanted to return to The Subway with the soul purpose of really soaking it in, taking off my shoes and just hanging out and letting my senses eat it all up. The first time around felt rushed probably like any other great experience where you left wanting more. Also this time I made sure I would be equipped with my Canon DSLR. So again, it was late April and a trip to San Diego would lead me into adding a stop into Utah, the return to The Subway was happening.
I landed in Las Vegas where I met with a relative of mine named Ari, we hopped into a rental car and a little over two hours later we were in Springdale, the same town I visited back in 2013. We had 4 full days of hiking planned out, 3 in the slot canyons and 1 day for a drive down to visit Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.
The first morning after arriving we woke up nice and early to get to the trail head (Wildcat Canyon Trailhead) that gets you on the trail and into the canyon leading to the subway. This is the “Top” starting point for the trail, the hike can be done starting from the “bottom” at the “Left Fork Trailhead” which is the end of the hike if your starting from the top. I highly recommend doing the hike from the top and going down or you’ll miss out on some fun repels (none higher than 15 feet), cool slots and picturesque surroundings.
In late April, the water in the canyons is bone numbingly cold and a wetsuit is a must. I was reminded of this when I dropped into the canyon and crossed a small pool of water that came up to about my hips.
Ari and me continued on over rocky terrain and drops into narrow slots filled with frigid water until we reached the portion known as The Subway. When you’ve reached this part a wetsuit is no longer needed, so off came the suit and into dry clothes. This time I just hung out walking around barefoot as Ari snapped away on his camera. Once satisfied I reached into my bag and planted my go pro down on a mini tripod set to taking pictures automatically, a couple pictures/videos for my IG followers via my iPhone then shortly after out came my DSLR.
After our stay we packed our things and continued forward. The trail continuously feeds the senses as you make your way down. It’s a bit of a hike after the Subway and before you reach the end you must ascend a steep portion before reaching the parking area at the Left Fork Trailhead. In total the trail takes anywhere from 6 – 10 hours, depending on your pace. We stopped more than a few times to take pictures and at one point just laid in the sun with other hikers, Courtney, Brad and a solo hiker named Nick (who we met earlier on the trail). Small talk led to an exchange of contact information at the parking area at the end of the hike. A lift back to my rental car, which was parked at the upper trailhead via the back seat of Courtney’s pink Honda Civic was a lifesaver especially after the steep hike up to the lower trailhead parking area, which is in no way a short distance from the top.
This was my second time completing the Subway and both experiences were memorable. The people you meet on the trails have as much to do with that as the trail itself.
For the rest of the trip, I had returned to other slot canyons that I had enjoyed from my previous visit to Zion in 2013. Ari and I ran into Courtney and Brad at the trailhead for Pine Creek canyon and we tackled that trail as a group. The following day was a day trip down to Page, Arizona to visit Antelope canyon and horseshoe bend. The trip was wrapped up with the fast and fun Keyhole canyon, a quick 1 to 2 hour slot canyon that offers fun drops and in the dark swims. One last meal at a local Mexican restaurant in Springdale and off we went toward Las Vegas to catch our return flight to New York.
Another trip complete and a promise kept.
Follow Sammy’s adventures and see his amazing photos on his IG @sammy426.
All photos curtesy of Sammy.
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