Road Travelled: The Narrows At Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah

Let me start this post by telling you, that I am writing to you from the rooftop of my friends Jeep Wrangler as we watch the clearly lit stars in the Mojave desert sky.  It is stunning. We are staying the next few nights at a charming oasis in Joshua Tree, a much needed treat after yesterday's strenuous adventuring through The Narrows at Zion National Park. I’m not complaining, the pain was well worth the gain. Nonetheless, my muscles are aching.

The hike begins at the end of the shuttle line through the park. Intimidated by the well-experienced hikers, Ellie and I began to realize how little we knew about what we were about to literally dig our heels into.  I think that was the fun of it. We had no idea what to expect, except for a few photos we’d see through Zion hashtags on Instagram. We just kept hiking through rocky pathways, trudging through waist deep water up the narrow canyon.

The water is murky so the smooth rocks of varying sizes below the surface make it a challenging hike. Safe to say I almost lost a toenail a few times to a large rock hiding below the surface. Learning how to balance yourself on the rocks below without rolling your ankles takes a little practice. Eventually, though, we were soaring though the rock mazes.

 
 
 

About five miles into the canyon, Ellie and I spotted a side canyon we had heard about from some newfound friends on the shuttle bus. Curious what was up there, we followed the second path. It was stunning, and challenging. Every few 100 feet we were challenged with a new obstacle we had to maneuver ourselves up, around or through. At points we found ourselves neck deep in water bracing ourselves to climb up slick wet boulders, almost twice the height of ourselves, to continue on to the next level of the canyon.  It seemed easy in retrospect to figure out what path to take up the rocks, but when your staring at it from a distance it’s perplexing. Shout out to Zac and Sam from Alabama and Mississippi, who we used as guinea pigs for finding the best route through some of those most narrow passages.

 

We headed back just as the thunder started rolling in. The one thing we did hear before we entered the canyon was the warning for hikers to check for chances of flash-floods before entering The Narrows. The sign on entering the trail was a light yellow, one shade away from the green, and read ‘Flashfloods Possible”.  Not exactly reassuring, but a pretty clear go ahead for adventurous amateur hikers like us. Ellie believed the park ranger’s would never allow anyone in during high-risk flashflood periods. She was wrong. Large orange signs now lined the trail entrance. “Flash-flood Alert Until 8 p.m.”

 

We booked it out of the park and ordered ourselves two massive hamburgers at Oscar’s Café in Springdale.  Thank you to our server Shawn from Boulder, Colorado for putting a rush order in for these hungry girls.  We didn’t order a torrential downpour but it came with our meals anyways. Made it out of the narrows in the nick of time. We don’t know if there were any flash-floods that afternoon but we’d like to think it was another disaster averted and one more awesome adventure under our belt.