The Call of the Canyon

by Julia on August 11, 2017

There is no doubt that canyons are a distinctive piece of the USA’s physical geography. For many foreigners and tourists, our National Parks are almost synonymous with great caverns, and with images of the great American outdoors often featuring canyons. Canyoneering is an umbrella term referring to a whole load of techniques used to enter the canyons; from rappelling, walking, climbing, jumping or even swimming in. Are you making the most of our Canyons? Read these top tips and prepare for an adventure.

1.Get The Right Gear

When descending into the belly of the canyon, it is important to have the right kit. Essential to any method of canyoneering are: a dry bag, decent proper shoes, a good knowledge of basic first aid and the relevant equipment. When making any outdoor excursion, navigational equipment and enough sustenance are must-haves. If you are climbing, you will need ropes and harnesses. When in the canyon you will need a helmet and a headlamp. Make sure whatever day you have planned, you have a permit if required and have sought advice from a qualified guide or tour operator. Unless you are a super experienced nature lover, going with a group is probably your best option. Before you embark, read-up on canyon safety from experienced adventurers.

2. Find the Best-Fit Canyon for your Abilities and Requirements

If you are going as a family, or even as a pair, your level of fitness and any phobias you might have will alter your destination. If members of your group are not ok with ropes and climbing, even with a certified guide, consider routes where you can kayak or raft between canyons. If you are looking for a proper climb, and are ok with caves and other chasms, look into enclosed canyons. If you are looking for a good place to start, consider making a Trip to Zion National Park. Zion National Park is widely held as one of the best places to do canyoneering, and they offer good family packages too.

3. Plan your Accommodation Wisely

Once you have decided upon the route you are going to take, and the park you are going to go to, make sure you don’t encounter an accommodation nightmare. If you are camping, that’s great, but make sure you have everything with you. Failing to bring essential items can put a real downer on a wilderness adventure, and nobody wants to get back from a hard day of canyoneering to discover that they do not have any plates to eat from. If you are traveling with a large group, it might be best to look into cabin or lodge stays, especially if you are only able to spare a few days.

4. Pause to Appreciate Your Surroundings

When doing something that takes a lot of concentration, and feels a little dangerous, it is easy to forget to stop and take-in what is around you. There is no point in driving for miles to abseil into a canyon if you can’t remember what it looked like down there. Recent studies have indicated that, contrary to what some people might say, you can take lots of photos and still enjoy your experience, but to do this you must do your best to engage with the moment.

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