October 5, 2017 Zion NP Day 4

We set an alarm for 7:00, but Bob woke me up because he got up at 6:30. We did our morning routine and left the campground at 9:00. It was a little cooler this morning at 50 degrees, but we had sunny blue skies. By the time we left, it was already warming up. We drove the 20-minute ride into Springdale where we parked and rented our gear for hiking the Narrows. We rented special water shoes and neoprene socks for $24. It also included a walking stick and was well worth the price! The guy at the shop told us that the water temp. was 55-60 degrees today so we almost rented some waterproof pants, but decided against it. The line to get on the shuttle was long, but it went quickly. We took the 40-minute shuttle ride to the end of the line. We got off the shuttle and started our hike on the paved Riverside Walk. The 1.1 mile trail follows the Virgin River along the bottom of a narrow canyon.

It would be shady most of the way, so we dressed for the cooler temps. I wore a pair of lightweight pants that dry quickly and are made to roll up to above my knee. Bob wore nylon pants that zipper off to convert to shorts. Many people walk the trail to where the Narrows (water portion) begins just to see it. The people going into the river, wear all sorts of things to deal with the water. 

These were the cool water shoes we rented. Very stylish if I do say so myself.

On our walk along the river, we saw a young mule deer grazing alongside the path.

We got to the “landing” where people get ready–change their clothes and shoes, to make their trek into the water.

We started our walk in the river at 11:20 after observing people pick their path so we would know which way to go. We wanted to pick the shallowest passage possible and stay dry. 

Our walking sticks came in handy to steady ourselves against the strong current at times.

The shoes had soles that could really grip to make picking your way through the rocks easier. We learned quickly that most of the rocks were not slippery and that they were embedded in the bottom so they didn’t move. That was nice!

When we were unsure of which way to go, we waited until someone came by to pick their path and that helped us decide which way to go. 

Most of the Narrows Trail is through the water, but sometimes you might be walking on a sandbar or dry area that has formed alongside the river.

The deepest water we chose to walk through was just above our knees.

Our pants never got wet and my biggest fear of losing my balance and sitting down in the water never happened. Thank goodness! Bob found another walking stick and that helped me a lot. The current was strong at times and was a little tricky (and scary) traversing the river perpendicular to the current.

We walked for a while before we reached the “hanging garden” area and the waterfall. It was beautiful! 

The canyon narrowed and rose above us on both sides. With every turn and corner, we didn’t know what to expect.

 We finally came upon a sunny “oasis” where everyone seemed to stop and rest.

Before we reached that spot, I looked over at the people walking on the other side of the river. Who did I see, but one of my friends and teaching colleague from when I taught school in Madison. It was Terri and her husband, Jeff! What are the chances I would run into someone I know hiking the Narrows? 

I shouted across the river to get their attention and then waded across to talk to them. After a hug, a couple of pictures, and an explanation of how they were there, we said our farewells and went on our merry way. They were planning to do another hike this afternoon after they finished the Narrows and we were only halfway done.

When we reached the sunny “oasis”, we found a spot to stop, rest, and have a snack.

You can hike further into the canyon for another 2 miles and end up at the Temple of Sinawava, but we chose not to go on. We turned around where most people do and headed back the same way we came.

With added confidence, we made the trek back to our starting point in 40 minutes arriving at the “landing” to empty out our shoes and wring out our socks at 12:50. After a short rest, we walked the paved trail back to the beginning, seeing the same mule deer in the same place.

We got back to catch the shuttle at 1:40, stopping along the way to take more pictures. The shuttle was waiting there for us, so we hopped on and were on our way. It was pretty empty at this time of the day compared to yesterday. We made the 40-minute ride back to the Visitor Center and our truck in no time. We changed out of our rental gear and made a stop at the gift shop. After a quick look around, Bob bought a shirt (on sale) and I bought a souvenir Christmas ornament to add to this trip’s collection. We left Zion at 2:30, but stopped in town to make a couple of calls while we had cell service, arriving at the campground at 3:00. Our cell service has been non-existent and it has taken some getting used to. We sat outside with Auggie while he enjoyed some rock climbing and we enjoyed a cocktail. 

It was a beautiful afternoon with the sun shining through the aspen trees behind our site and a light breeze blowing. We made our plans for tomorrow’s departure to Bryce Canyon and listened to the Virgin River gurgling behind us. We had dinner and relaxed with some TV watching the Bucs vs Patriots game. Auggie got his evening walk as the full moon rose. Tomorrow starts another adventure.

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