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Hiking the Narrows...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present one of the most challenging hikes I have ever been on in my whole entire life: the Narrows at Zion National Park.  

From what I've heard, it is best to attempt this hike in the fall, when the temperatures aren't too cold, the river isn't too high, and there is very low risk of flash floods... but... we had time to go last weekend, right smack in the midst of monsoon season!  

If, like SB and I,  you happen to be visiting Zion NP and want to hike the Narrows during monsoon season, you're going to need several things: 

: shoes with a lot of traction that you don't mind getting wet (can rent from Zion Outfitters)
: a walking stick (can be rented from Zion Outfitters, but we bought our own)
: lots of water and some healthy snacks
: a TON of awareness of your surroundings 

At Zion, parking is super limited, so there is a free shuttle bus that makes 8 stops throughout the park at all of the major trailheads.  They set up a daily information board where you wait to get on the shuttle that gives details about the weather and any other advisories that adventurers need to know about.  On the day that SB and I chose to hike the Narrows, the board said that flash floods were probable (as opposed to possible the next day and unlikely on the following day).  A quick trip to the visitor's center and we were faced with a serious decision.  The ranger to whom we spoke said that he definitely wouldn't risk it, but being SB and myself, we decided to have a go with the plan to at least hike about a mile in places that had some high ground and to hold to one another for dear life in the case that a flash flood occurred.  

Well, we got there and started making our way through the canyon.  We got a bit caught up in the splendor of things and after several hours of slipping and sliding over rocks, sinking into sand and being anywhere from on dry land to nearly to our hips in water, we found ourselves about 3 miles into the canyon.  The crowds had substantially thinned, the hike was incredibly strenuous, and dry land was few and far between.  At several points, we heard some roaring sounds that totally turned my stomach (I definitely thought we were going to die), but must have been the echoes of airplanes passing overhead.  We aren't actually sure if we reached the narrowest point of the canyon, as neither of us brought our phones with GPS (one less thing to dunk into the river), and we did end up turning around before we really wanted to, but only because we were pretty beat and the last shuttle back to the visitor's center was at 22:15, and we were afraid of missing it. 

It was a truly amazing hike!  If you aren't much of a hiker, never fear!  The beginning of this hike is easy and there was lots of dry land, so it is possible to have a relatively simple go of things and you can check the box off of your bucket list.  If you're looking for a challenge, definitely try this hike, but go all the way! 

I think we may end up back here in the fall when the river is significantly lower so we can go all the way!  Ok, maybe not all the way (16 miles up and 16 miles down), but further than we went on this trip! 

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