Trail Pictures

Fall colors in Zion

Fall colors

Fall colors

Tracy in the Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

Zion Boundary

The Narrows

Waterfall

The Narrows

Tracy in The Narrows

Butterfly

The Narrows

Tracy in The Narrows

The Narrows

Big Springs

Tracy at The Narrows

The Narrows

Tracy in The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

Tracy in The Narrows

Tracy in The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

The Narrows

Tracy at the end

Zion Narrows

        Utah Area Trails Causey Sep 2013 Leidy Peak/Lakeshore Little East Fork Blacks Fork Brown Duck Basin Robber's Roost May 13 Coyote Gulch 2013 Happy Canyon Robber's Roost Mar 13 Comet Needles Feb 2013 Colton Cabin Moab Bill Moonshine Wash Uintas Fall 2012 McCoy Park 2012 Spider Lake Popo Agie Tosi Creek West Fork Blacks Fork East Fork Bear River Camp East Fork Bear River Center Park Uinta River Moab and San Rafael Swell Dirty Devil with James West Desert San Rafael Desert S. Utah with Cory Lake Powell 2011 The Needles The Maze E Fork Burnt Fork Leidy Peak Burnt Fork Granite Highline Causey May 11 Green River Buck Canyon Antelope Apr 11 Smith Fork Grizzly Ridge Yurt Moab Arches Bear River Moab Flight Snowbasin Art Nord Moab Rim Zion Dry Fork Naturalist Basin Timpanogos Cave Meteor Shower Yellowstone Creek McCoy Park Ostler Creek Granddaddy Causey Southern Utah Coyote Gulch White Canyon - Moqui Canyon Tetons - Cabin Southern Utah Wildhorse Canyon Snowbasin Great Salt Lake Snowbasin Robber's Roost Deep Creeks Farmington Canyon Nine Mile Canyon Fish Lake - McCoy Park Harris Wash Antelope Island Moab Southern Utah Log Hollow Moab Lake Powell Wasatch Buckskin Gulch Deseret Peak Pine Valley Logan Canyon Causey Reservoir China Meadows Haystack Lake Cow Park Highline Grandaddy Lakes Amethyst Basin Uintas Cat Canyon Southern Utah Southern Utah Glen Canyon Swett Canyon Antelope Island Uintas - Yurt Pebble Creek Robbers Roost Antelope/ Lost Creek N Fork Provo River Capitol Reef Pine Valley Wilderness Uintas Stillwater Reservoir Grandaddy Mountain Logan Canyon Canyonlands Arches Twin Lakes Kabell Lake Amethyst Basin South Cedar Ridge Canyon Hurricane Wash Middle Fork of the Ogden River Moab Cat Canyon Crack Canyon Causey Reservoir St George Log Hollow Canyonlands Steam Mill Canyon Row Bench Rubies Highline Causey Reservoir Flat Tops Grand Daddy Lake Antelope Island White Pine Lake Brown Duck Flaming Gorge Snowbasin Swasey Lakes Spooky Gulch White Rock Bay Grand Gulch Cat Canyon Moon Lake Antelope Island Antelope Island Long Park Grand Daddy Lake Hades Pass Tom's Canyon Just arrived

On 15 Oct 10, Tracy and I drove down to Zion National Park to hike the Narrows of the Virgin

River (Google Map).  We drove to Springdale on Friday night, and then got up early in the

morning to pick up our overnight permit.  We had reserved a permit for campsite 6, but we still

had to pick up the actual permit.  I had read that the backcountry desk could have long lines,

but there were no lines at all when we got there.  So we milled around for an hour waiting on

our shuttle.  The shuttle picked us up from the Visitor's Center at 9:30 and took us up to

Chamberlin Ranch.  The drive took about an hour and a half, but we finally got there.  We

shared the shuttle with 8 other people, and there was a group of about 6 that was also starting

at the same time we got there.

We headed down the canyon and just enjoyed the hike.  The first couple of hours were easy

walking on a road and trail.  Eventually, the path led into the canyon itself, and we started

having to walk more in the water.  The hike the first day was uneventful.  The water was never

much more than calf deep, and only occasionally getting knee deep.  The only issue was that it

took MUCH longer than we expected.  The Park's website said that it would take about 6 hours

to hike the 8 miles to our camp, but I figured that was a conservative estimate.  But the day

kept stretching on, and we weren't seeing anything we hoped to see.  I thought we would make

it to camp by 3 or 3:30, but by 3:30 we still hadn't found camp 1.  So I was starting to get

worried that we weren't moving nearly fast enough.  Actually, I expected to be at camp 1 by 2

pm or so, so I had been worried for some time by 3:30.  But by 4 pm we came across camp 2,

which meant we had just missed camp 1.  So, at least we weren't as far behind as we thought,

although we were still going slower than I had planned, and we now knew that it was possible

to miss the campsites, so we had to pay close attention to the canyon.  But we saw all of the

remaining sites, and we made it to camp right at 5:15...6 hours after we had started.

Tracy had worn her wetsuit the first day, but I hadn't because it wasn't that cold, and the water

wasn't that deep.  We changed out of our wet clothes, set up camp, had dinner, and then

turned in for the night.  I planned to get up by 5:30 or 6, and hit the trail early, because there

was a threat of some rain on Sunday, and I didn't want to risk being in the 2 hour stretch of the

Narrows during a rain storm.  I now expected the hike to take as long as the Park Service

estimated, which meant we still had 6 more hours to go before reaching the end of the hike.

So we got up at 5:30 on Sunday and got ready to head out.  The night had been pleasant, but I

expected more water on Sunday, so I put on my wetsuit.  It didn't take long until I got hot, so I

just kept the bottom half of the wetsuit on.  We started about 7, and we hiked for about 30

minutes in the dark.  Tracy wasn't at all happy about hiking in the dark, because she had falled

several times the day before, and she figured it would be worse in the dark.  We didn't have

nay problems, though, and soon it was daylight.

The rest of the day was cool.  We simply hiked down canyon, and made our way back.  We

spent more time in the water than we did the day before, and the water was soon getting

deeper than the day before.  We never got in above our waists, but we did have to work hard

to find shallow water in several places.  The Narrows were cool, and it took us about an hour

and half or so to make it through the Narrows.  Just after passing Orderville Canyon, we

started running into people hiking up canyon from inside the Park.  By the time we got to the

end, we had passed over 50 or 60 people...even though we had only seen 10 or so before

hitting Orderville.

All in all, this was a great trip.  It was long, and it was pretty hard, but it was well worth it.  I think

Buckskin Gulch and Davis Gulch might be prettier and more interesting, but this one was

definitely worth doing.  I'm glad we did it in October, because it wasn't terribly crowded, it

wasn't too hot, and it wasn't too cold.  It didn't rain on us at all, but we did hit rain just 30

minutes after leaving the park.  If I had done this canyon on my own without getting a permit

from the Park, I might not have done it with the 30% chance of rain.  However, I learned two

things: first, the Park won't keep you from going even if there's a chance you could die...just

read this story.  Also, the permit said, all over it, that safety was our responsibility.  So, after

getting out there, I wondered why I had placed so much trust in the Park letting us go, when I

probably wouldn't have gone if I had been outside the park.  However, after doing the hike, I

think the second thing I learned was that a 30% chance of showers in a canyon is not as

dangerous as I thought it would be.  I hope I'm not becoming complacent, but I have learned in

the mountains here that a 30% chance of snow is not enough risk to avoid going into the

mountains, so now I think that a 30% chance of showers is probably not enough reason to

avoid a canyon.  Of course, it would depend on the canyon and the actual weather, but I will

assess the risk based more on actual weather rather than being scared off just because there

is a small chance of short rain showers.

Anyway, this was a great hike, and Tracy agreed that she was really glad we hiked it...even

though she fell quite a bit, and was pretty bruised by the end of the hike.  But that just means

you had a good hike!