For our two-year anniversary we planned a trip months in advance to hike the Narrows in Zion National Park. Due to unexpected changes in scheduling and changes in jobs, we almost thought we were not going to make it for our long awaited get away. Luckily Joe’s new employers are considerate and I was able to find some very reluctant people to cover my shifts and we were able to go.
We started our trip by driving to St. George and enjoying some time at the LDS temple there.
The next day we drove to the National Park, got our permit to hike the Narrows as a two-day trip and then caught our shuttle outside of the Park. The drive to the trailhead took about an hour and a half. The last 30 minutes of the drive were on a bumpy dirt road. After the drive we decided it was well worth it to pay for a shuttle rather than set up a shuttle with friends (which we had originally planned on, but fell through). It also saved at least three hours of driving time.
The first part of the hike was through Chamberlains Ranch. It was pretty boring; we saw some cows and a lot of fire hydrants. Though it did give us some time to get used to carrying our packs before we hiked through the rocky river.
Once we entered the Narrows the hike just kept getting more and more beautiful as we went along. July-September is monsoon season in the area so we were constantly on alert for a flash flood. This also meant that the water was very murky and made our hiking more difficult as we stumbled over rocks that we could not see. We were glad that we rented some walking sticks for the trip.
A few hours into our hike we got rained on. It started as a light sprinkle and we kept hiking while keeping an even more cautious eye on the water. We also kept an eye out for higher ground to climb to in case of flooding. The rain got heavier for about twenty minutes and we decided to stay on high ground. Luckily there was no flooding and we continued our trek.
About eight hours into our hike we arrived at our campsite. We were thrilled and exhausted. Neither of us had backpacked in years and we did not anticipate the rocks in the river to be quite the obstacle that they were. We set up camp quickly and stripped off our wet clothes and hung them up to dry on a dead tree that was conveniently located above the ground.
The next day we woke up early after not sleeping well on the hard ground. We hiked for several hours before we saw anyone. Sometimes we wondered if might be in the wrong canyon. The canyon continued to narrow and get even more majestic. The water we were trekking through also got deeper. At one point we waded in water chest deep. Then we started seeing people, and then more and more people, and then the people just kept coming. We realized that we had liked feeling as though we were the only ones in the canyon. The people we ran into were all doing the one-day hike in the Narrows, which does not go the entire length of the canyon as the two day hike that we did does. Many of them assumed we were doing the same hike as them and asked why were carrying so much stuff.
We made it to the bottom of the canyon and we felt out of place. We were dirty, wet, smelly, and elated to see a park shuttle waiting at the end of the trail. People looked at us as though we were crazy, but we were happy to have done something that has been a goal for so long. And it was worth it.