In June 2008 my grandma told us that we had to buy used ski poles because we were going to Zion National Park in Utah to hike ‘The Narrows’. What the heck are the narrows and why would we need ski poles in 90 degree weather?
With grandma’s van packed, we went across the Mojave Desert with the A/C blasting and iPods in our ears as we approached Mesquite, Nevada. Early the next morning we were back on the road, and arrived at Zion. The canyon around the valley area is massive and very steep. Breathtaking view of the granite rocks with their hughs of bright reds, oranges, and browns, all reflecting from the sun. Each one with its own unique shape, size, and character. We then settled into the basic National Park Cabin with two double beds and a bathroom.
The following day, we were going to go hike ‘The Narrows’. What a site we must have been walking to the shuttle buses (only way to get around in the park for free) dressed in our old worn out clothes, and of course our ski poles. We took the shuttle down to the farthest end of the park to the last stop called “Temple of Sinawava” where we began down the Riverwalk. Beautiful greenery and lots of animals all around.
After the one mile hike we were at the Virgin River. We stepped into the river about six inches deep, the water like a blanket covering the shining rocks. They were all smooth, and the water was cold as we started walking up stream. After a while, you become immune to the cold water, and it begins to feel refreshing in the sweltering sun. I laughed so much that day because for every ten steps you took forward, you would lose three steps backward. Now I knew what the ski poles were for, you need it for balance, and also for helping you up over the slippery rocks.
The vertical walls of the canyon crowd in very tightly against the Virgin River. The sandstone walls with their exquisite colors, and surprises lurking around every bend in the river. We found around one bend a group of college students jumping from rocks that were ten feet in the air. They told us how they come every year to hike the narrows and how somebody goes down under the water to make sure that there are no rocks below. We gave it a try and what a thrill of excitement it was, afterwards we ate lunch and rested for a bit before continuing back up the river. Around another bend later we found ourselves in eight foot deep water going through a little cave. On the way back we floated down the river on our backs looking up at the spectacular view. The rocks began to narrow to about thirty feet wide and one-thousand feet tall close to the end of the trail. We stopped at the Orderville Canyon because to continue up river you have to have a back country permit.
As I looked around, no matter how tired everyone was with cuts and scrapes on our arms, legs and feet, everybody had a smile on their faces and hope that the day would never end. I just couldn’t get enough of the breathtaking beauty. The narrows is a place of mystery and beauty, and it is unlike any hike that I have ever done. Now that I have a better sense of what the Narrows at Zion are like. I can’t wait to go back and do it again.
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