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Took the 4 Train to Zion.... [Explored] | by Aaron M Photo
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Took the 4 Train to Zion.... [Explored]

*** Explored #438 on 11/11/2011! ***


For those of you from the New York City area know that the 4 Subway train will take you to beautiful Yankee Stadium. Growing up just outside of NYC I've been a NY Yankee fan my entire life and the 4 train was how we got to the ballpark. This photo reminded me of takin’ the subway to the Bronx.


OK, I digress. I've seen photos of The Subway Station at Zion National Park and knew that I just had to photograph this. My buddy and I planned a 3.5 day whirlwind Southern Utah/Northern Arizona trip (more photos to come including Bryce NP, The Wave, Antelope Canyon, and Zion) so we could photograph The Subway. This is a magical place – almost too surreal to believe. It's also super slippery, dangerous, and an exhausting hike.


I have to say that this was probably the most amazing hike I've ever done. I spend a lot of my summer hiking around the Bay Area and Yosemite but this hike was just something else. It starts out on top of giant red-rock canyons before you descend to the floor of the Left Fork of the North River. From there you walk 4 miles up the Left Fork until you come to The Subway. Along the way you cross the river 30-40 times (trying not to get wet), pass by gorgeous waterfalls, autumn trees, and giant red-rock canyons. What an amazing place!!!


My buddy and I didn't see a soul on the hike until we arrived at the cascade falls (Archangel Falls) in the last 1/2 mile or so. One of the photographers, Andy Cook (from Colorado) was super nice and we chatted with him for a while before he took off to beat us to The Subway. When we finally arrived at The Subway we met the other 5 hikers. All of them for some reason were shooting from the bottom of The Subway. That's when we informed them that they needed to go up into it to take the classic shot. We thought it was amusing that we told some professional photographers how to shoot The Subway.


Luckily for us there were only 6 or 7 of us in total (we heard the previous day there were 35 photographers trying to cram in). One guy must have arrived much earlier in the afternoon/morning cuz he took off almost as soon as we got there. Another couple took their photos pretty quickly and then left. That just left my buddy and myself and Andy Cook and his friend. We took turns taking photos and each got our shots. My buddy and I then left Andy and his friend to have the entire area to themselves. Although it took us 4 hours to hike in, we hauled ( and made it back to the car in 2 hours - just enough time to get back to try to photograph The Watchman for sunset.


For anyone wanting to do the hike, you should head over to my blog, where I've also posted a KML map showing my exact path (thanks to a GPS tracker I hiked with).


If you're interesting in hiking to The Subway I strongly recommend you get canyoneering boots for this hike — they will keep your feet dry and seem to suction themselves to the rock and lessen the chance that you'll slip. The short gist of getting to The Subway is that you get a backcountry permit, you drive to the Left Fork of the North River Trailhead, descend 400 feet into the canyon, hike 4-5 miles up stream, crossing the river maybe 30-40 times while you pick your way along the "path" (in quotes because there's no real trail, you're just following the worn out steps of other people before you ... or figuring out your own way), until you eventually end up walking in the river and then arrive at The Subway! I would say about 60% of the hike is on the ”path” while the remaining 40% is split between sand, walking in the river (the last bit), climbing over boulders, and crossing the stream. There was also a lot of bouldering and climbing on rocks to get around (to avoid getting wet). Again, I posted a lot more detail on my blog so go there if you want to know more.


Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:

34mm, f/22, 15 sec, ISO 100 Tripod

B+W F-Pro Circular Polarizer

NOT an HDR -- mostly just curves, dodge/burning, white balance, highlight recovery, and removing of leaves in the green water.


Best Viewed Large on Black


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Taken on November 7, 2011