21 June 2009

Hiking the Narrows

So, here's my beef with hiking: I spend so much time looking at the ground making sure that I do not trip on a rock or root or step on a snake that I rarely get to look around me at the scenery.

Yesterday we hiked in the Narrows in Zion National Park. All national parks had free admission yesterday, so we woke up earlyish (9 a.m.) and drove down to the park. We hiked in the Narrows for a while, turned around when we heard thunder and lightning, headed out of the Narrows and drove home.

I found it to be a very difficult hike. First of all, the wet shoes and socks. That is just very irritating to me. Secondly, the slippery rocks and the lack of a walking stick. When we were headed up the River Walk trail I saw lots of people coming out with walking sticks, and I thought and I mentioned to Eric that I've never really gotten the point of walking sticks. They've never been particularly useful to me. But in that water where you sometimes can't see what's below you and where the rocks are fairly slippery, it would have been awesome to have a walking stick. I wobbled a lot, and I fell twice. I wasn't badly damaged, but the water was a bit chilly, and it comes as quite a shock to slip on a rock and fall with no way to catch yourself. Third, the walking up-stream with water that generally came to my knees. Of course, I thought it would be easier when we turned around and walked down stream, and it wasn't really. So, make that "the walking in water."

We have no pictures because our camera is in Eric's mom's van. Sorry.

And after all that, it dawned on me that I hardly ever looked up at the sheer rock walls rising above us. I was so concerned about not falling on the rocks that I really didn't take the chance to look around me. On the way out I was so anxious to get out of there and nurse my bum knee that I didn't look around me much.

Next time we go to Zion I'm not forgetting my inhaler at home, and we're doing Angels Landing instead. At least then I can rest at the top and enjoy the view for a while.

Has anyone actually gotten a permit and backpacked through the Narrows from end to end? Because after the little bit that I did yesterday, I would never want to do that. (Unless I was given a ridiculous ultimatum like "backpack the Narrows or sacrifice your first-born child.") If you have backpacked the whole thing, how was it?


Jenn said...

It's too bad you didn't get to enjoy the scenery much, because it is beautiful! When I went to Zion, we hiked Angel's Landing first (which was great, but really hot) and then the Narrows. The cold water felt awesome then. I also fell a couple of times, though, so I feel your pain. I remember my feet got rubbed raw from being in the water so long. I could hardly walk that night. I've never backpacked the whole thing, but I would really like to, as long as I had appropriate footwear and a walking stick.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

I'm insanely jealous of your hike up the Narrows. It is closed in April, when we went. In a few years (maybe five or six?) we want to take our boys backpacking there.

The long hike we took in Zion was to the Emerald pools--fabulous. Angel's Landing seemed a little scary to me, but I'd like to do that next time.

Packrat said...

I hope your knee has recovered from falling. I've wanted to hike the Narrows. It has been closed every single time we've been there - no matter what time of year. I love Zion; it is so beautiful.

Mariah said...

Just wanted to say, that my Mum used to work at Zion National Park when she was something like 18. So even thought I'm on the other side of the world I feel connected.