Zion! Day One, Part Two
After hiking to the top of Angels Landing I was ready for my next Zion must: The Narrows! By the time I got back to my car, put on my dry gear, took the shuttle back up the canyon and got off at the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop, it was already 3pm. The last shuttle back down the canyon left at 5:45pm which didn't give me much time. I quickly walked the one mile paved Riverside Walk to get to the river access. I felt like a salmon swimming up stream since most people were ending their day in The Narrows and here I was trying to start it! I knew I'd rather see some of it than none of it so off I went into the chilly water of the Virgin River ready for another amazing experience.
I rented gear from Zion Adventure Company. They outfitted me with dry pants, neoprene socks, and water boots to keep me warm in the 50 degree water. The rental package also included a wooden hiking pole which I quickly learned is a must when you need to balance yourself, the water is past your knees and you can't see the bottom of the river.
Since I was short on time I told myself I had to turn around after an hour, no matter where I was. I set off, down the slot canyon. Just as I was stepping into the water I noticed a woman with a sketchbook and pen sitting on a rock close to the water. I realized it was Zoe Keller the current Artist in Residence at Zion National Park. I found the piece she was working on when I saw her, it's posted on her instagram here. Follower her @zoekellerart.
I love feeling small and humbled by nature. That's the best description I have for my experience of hiking The Narrows. The sound of rushing water bounced off the rock walls making the canyon anything but quiet yet I still felt like I needed to be still and reverent. Several times I just stood and allowed myself to soak in the serenity, as if I were in a sacred place.
About a half mile into the canyon is a waterfall known as Mystery Falls. It gracefully slides down the smooth wall from the canyon above. This place in particular felt special and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for being able to experience it. I placed my hand on the smooth sandstone in the middle of the gentle flowing water, letting it ripple over my fingers and the back of my hand. I then said a prayer of thanks, for being present in this moment and enjoying God's beautiful creation.
I didn't have my map with me (rule #1, always bring the 10 essentials) so I don't know exactly how far in I hiked. I'm pretty sure I was one river bend away from Orderville Canyon which splits off from the main slot canyon but I can't know for sure. I kept telling myself, "ok, just one more turn of the river, then you have to turn back..... ok, how about just one more after this one.." It was hard decision to end my hike and head back to the trailhead.
I didn't spend near enough time in the The Narrows. I would love to go back and hike it top down to get the full experience, to be miles and miles into the slot canyon with only the river to guide you. The short time I was able to spend in the canyon was incredibly special and I will hold onto those moments of serenity for a long time.
The Narrows - from Riverside Walk access point
Date Hiked: October 29, 2018
Total Miles: 2 miles
Elevation Gained: n/a (minimal elevation gain)
Total Time: 2 hours
Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral land of the Southern Paiute and Puebloans