Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kanarra Creek Canyon

Kanarra Creek Falls 1
For my Birthday, Kristi gave me tickets to renowned Utah's Shakespeare Festival. It's a repertory theatre in Cedar City hosted by Southern Utah University.  They perform both secular and non secular plays through out the summer season. Boasting both an indoor and outdoor Shakespearen theatre, as well as a separate theatre. It allows them to rotate shows in such a way you can see four shows in a weekend. The beauty of Cedar City is where it lies. Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument,  Bryce National Park, Dixie National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land surround the town.  I like to speak to the locals about nearby hikes and attractions that may fall below the radar.  The University art gallery had a photo of Kanarra Creek and some falls, which turned out to be close to town, just outside Zion National Park.  The creek is located in the hills above the little town of Kanarraville right off of I-15. 
Kanara Canyon Maple
The trail starts at the parking lot, and has a $10 fee to maintain bathrooms and trail, as well as the ladders over the falls. The trail starts off for the first mile rather exposed but soon reaches the creek. The second three quarters of a mile are walking through the creek, and into the narrows.  The onset of the narrows offered a precarious maple growing out of the canyon wall about 30 feet up.  Really makes you appreciate the delicacy of life.  A short wade brings you to the first falls.  I'm not sure whether or not nature was responsible for leaning the giant log against the falls, but the stewards definitely welded a nice ladder along the length of it.  The next half mile offers a slightly wider portion of the canyon as well as a couple of other smaller but nice falls.  The canyon narrows again to the largest falls yet.  There used to be a ladder up this falls as well, but a recent flood reduced it to toothpicks.   Here's were we stopped. Had we had the determination we could have climbed up a couple of ropes, but you'd get soaked to do it.  Now had I carried my pelican case I may have attempted it, but a simple backpack is all I had to protect my camera, so I opted to err on the side of caution and just take images of the falls. There is a nice description of the trail and canyon on a great website utah.com/hiking.
Kanarra Creek Falls 2
We made two trips here, the first being on Saturday.   Although this canyon may not be widely known, it was definitely not a secret.  When we arrived we were pleased to find only a handful of cars in the lot. Within an hour the canyon began to fill up with people. They came streaming in by the tens, then twenties. Soon there must have been fifty or sixty people.  I was posed at the first falls thinking I could wait it out. A person asked how the photos were coming, and I made a comment on all the people. He said I'd be waiting a while as this was a 'ward' function. Well if you know anything about Utah, when there is a 'ward' function they don't come two by two, the come in ten by ten. We bailed.  I wasn't even remotely done exploring this cool canyon, so we decided to come back on Sunday morning, early. This plan worked out better, and I felt I had the time I needed, without the hoards.
Kanarra Creek Narrows
If you go, try to do an early mid week trip. As mid day approached, the canyon offered some interesting light reflecting off the walls. I took advantage of capturing that with a long exposure for the water. One issue I was trying to avoid was the wide angle ghosting you get when glare from the sky washes out the top of the frame. A lens hood is helpful but wasn't enough. I used instead the shade from the canyon walls, and the bill of my ball cap to cut the glare. An umbrella could have helped more, but I still got favorable results.

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