What a day
After having tackled every canyon there is to canyoneer in in Zion itself, we ventured out to Birch hollow by the Zion Ponderosa Ranch to explore this infamous, short canyon with rumored breath taking rappels and beautiful scenery.
We began our descent into the canyon around noon, approaching the first Rappel with a nice over hang to start the day.
As we got farther and farther into the canyon we eventually caught up with a pair of first time canyoneerers from BYU. By the time we ran into them it was about 1:30.
Well they were sketchy to say the least and didn't know how to properly tie into their descending device and didn't even know which way the rope went. We pretty much taught them how to rappel, all 8 of their group.
The most ridiculous part was they insisted we use our own ropes when they all were finished with their rappels, so we would have to spend the time over and over putting our rope back in our rope bag, etc etc.
By the time we made our way out of the canyon it was about 5:30. We were all hiking along orderville canyon where we saw and heard plenty of deer dying because of hunting season. We eventually came to a fork, left or right. The group decided to go right up the hill along with two people of our group, so my father and I followed and eventually were separated from our friends and the BYU group. We hiked up and down the cliff/face three more times to see if we could find them but there was nothing but more mountains. By this time we were burnt out, and we had to get down to the water before the sun set to figure out how to get out. Right as we made it to the river bottom the sun had set completely and we pulled out our headlamps. As we went back to the fork, about 100 feet back behind a rock was a nicely established trail which was the way out. Two hours later, (we were exhausted from doing englestead via exit through the narrows) we finally made it to our car, to find a note written on a napkin saying, "Aubrie and Rob we are at the ponderosa ranch come find us." It didn't say who it was from and my dad and i were planning on spending the night in our car to wait for the two others to come. I convinced my dad to go to the ranch and there on the side of the road were our friends who had gotten out of the canyon two hours before we had.
All I can say is I have done dozens of canyons with sketchy exits, but I don't think I have had an experience like this before. Next time when I do birch, ill take the left!