of Zion National park
Bottum-up Day Hike
"Pursue some path,
however narrow and crooked,
in which you can walk
with love and reverence."
Henry David Thoreau
Strong currents rushing against our legs. Stones of all shapes and sizes underfoot. Red rock cliffs as high as 2000 feet twisting, turning, towering above. Not a single soul out ahead of us. The whole canyon to ourselves. The whole wild world ours.
We took the 6:00 am shuttle from the Zion Visitors Center and bolted down the mile-long riverwalk to the stairs that leads into the Virgin River. Bats swooped overhead as we ran breathless and excited toward The Narrows. The sun was still a half-hour from waking. Our hearts pounded with the the thrill of the unknown--the fear of it, too. It's a feeling, a moment, an adventure we'll never forget.
Our first steps into the river were cold, but not shocking. What was more shocking was the fact that we were here. This had been such a big dream for such a long time.
We waded through small rushing rapids, and through deep pools of green, still water.
Most of the hike is through the river and consists of walking over boulders and stones and crossing against currents. The water was varying depths, from just above our ankles to over our heads.
We hiked four miles out, and four miles back. We hiked fast the first part of the hike so that we could keep ahead of the other hikers. The hike back was much slower. By then, the canyon was filled with people. There must have been hundreds of hikers. We were so grateful for all the time alone in in the canyon.
Once we got wet, it was impossible to get warm. Even though temps reached 102 degrees on the day of our hike, the sun didn't penetrate the canyon until after noon, and even then, only in some spots. You can see goosebumps on my legs. We were so cold when we found this rock and sunlight.
I tried to turn DOWN the saturation on this photo. There natural color of the canyon is so intense.
There are multiple outfitters in Springdale that rent gear for hiking The Narrows. You will need the shoes and the poles. We had our own poles but we definitely should have rented the shoes. Instead, we wore the water shoes you can pick up for ten dollars. Big mistake. Jeff's feet were banged up and swollen midway through the hike. The soles of my shoes were falling out and my toes were poking through the holes in the tops of mine around the same time. Take the advice Jeff didn't, "Rent the shoes." Your feet will thank you. And if you don't have your own poles, rent them. I don't think we could have done the hike without poles. They made it possible for us to keep our balance, especially when the current was strong, which was often. Our other advice? Take the 6:00 am shuttle and run down the path while the other hikers are getting organized and taking advantage of the restrooms. We promise you it's worth the early and rushed start to experience the quiet stillness and vastness of The Narrows. One more piece of advice? Dream big, and then find a way to make it happen.
Hiking TheNarrows is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Jeff's Local Beer Pick:
Zion Canyon Brewing Company's Echo Canyon