The other quintessential hiking experience of Zion National Park is the Narrows. Too chicken for Angel’s Landing? Maybe the risk of flash flooding and hypothermia is more your speed. It is mine.
We were not planning to do this one, having hiked a short part of it five years ago with Joel and thinking our youngest could not handle this. But on our visit to the trailhead she spotted a couple in full dry suits and gear headed into the canyon and declared, “I want to do that.” So we turned around in search of some gear. Yeah, we let the seven year old make big decisions for the whole family all the time. I call it “Life Management Training” and award the appropriate school credit.
We got outfitted by Zion Adventure Company. I highly recommend them. Great folks. For a safe (read: warm) Narrows experience you need a dry suit that has neoprene gaskets that you will swear are cutting off all your circulation, special shoes and these neoprene sock things that are a size too small and take ten minutes to put on. You also get a big stick and a bag to carry anything you need to keep dry. You need all this crazy stuff because while the canyon has many sandbars on which to hike, it is mostly wall-to-wall water. Cold water. Like 39 degrees. Ain't nobody got time for that.
We had planned to be in the river by 10:00 a.m. but after a big breakfast and forgetting a few important things, it was more like 11:30 (that’s how we roll). I started to consider this a plus, figuring that placed the sun high enough in the sky to warm the canyon until I remembered why this part of the park is called the Narrows. Here is where I will cease with my words and let the pictures do the explaining.
In the end, the cold and shade did not matter. It was a wonderful experience and we were all glad we did it and were looking forward to a celebration dinner at the Bit & Spur (after the 45 minutes it took us to get out of the dry suits). Unfortunately we found they were closed for the winter, so we at at the Whiptail Grille instead. It did not disappoint. Nor did the chocolates we indulged in at the local candy shop. Then we went back to the campground and collapsed.