Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Greenies Experience at the Narrows - Zion National Park

I loved the thought of hiking the narrows. I read lots of posts about the hike. I did some preparation
to make this hike the best experience I could. 

When doing my investigating into this hike I wanted to know:

How much time do I need?
*answers are based on my experience and different circumstances could change the outcomes*
I studied this out and the information I got was very accurate! I planned on 6 hours and did it in 5 1/2. Here is a breakdown. 

Riverside walk ends 1 mile 0.5hr

Mystery Falls 1.4 mile 1hr

Start of Wall Street 2.4 mile 1:50hr

Orderville Canyon 2.5 miles 2hr

End of Wall Street 3.5 miles 2:30hr

Hardest part… deep 4.5 miles 3:30hr

Big Springs 5.0 miles 4hr

We turned around at the end of Wall Street - or at least what I determined to be the end of Wall Street - there are no signs. We left our hotel a little after 6:30AM - and got back to the hotel at 1:00PM.

What time of day should I go?
From my studies - a lot of people suggested to go early to beat the crowds. We decided the day before the hike that we would drive and park at the museum (shuttle stop 2 in the park). We liked the parking there as there were parallel parking options which should mean less door dings. We ended up leaving our hotel a little later then planned because we wanted to eat the continental breakfast which wasn’t served until 6AM. We drove to the park a little after 6:30 - the first shuttle in Springdale would have picked us up at around 7:15, but shuttles in the park start at 6AM. There were about half a dozen others waiting at this shuttle stop. When the shuttle came to pick us up - it was full. We managed to squeeze in and I was standing beside the bus driver. It was a good view out the front window - I just had to hold on for my life. The driver was nice and carefull. I wasn’t sure if we were going so slow because the driver wanted to be cautious or if we were so weighed down the shuttle could not go any faster. We were packed in there like sardines! The other stops had people waiting - but could not get on as the people on the shuttle were getting off at stop 6 (Angel’s Landing) or stop 9 (The Narrows). It was busy even early in the morning. There was a line up for the bathrooms at the shuttle stop. It helped being at the front of the shuttle as I got to the bathrooms at the head of the pack. Once we started on the river walk the crowd thinned out as some people were still at the bathrooms - while others did not stop there. On the hike back it was nuts. It was July 4, so I was expecting it to be busy. We managed our way through the crowds that were in the river and on the river trail. The shuttle bus was not as busy coming back. 
Leaving early was good - but don't expect it not to be packed already. 

What should I bring with me?

  • I took a backpack with water, a snack, the park map, sunscreen, and a camera. I purchased special shoes that were awesome. They are Baffin trail to rapid shoes. We wore wool socks with them to help prevent chaffing. My husband made walking sticks out of old hockey sticks. We got some compliments on how creative we were. We thanked them and explained we were from Canada eh! We did consider renting the supplies needed - but we were wanting to get on the trail before the rental place was open and were too cheap to pay for two days. The shoes we purchased will be handy as we are active hikers. 
 Do I need to prepare anything?
  • I seen a lot of rented gear being used. I also seen too many people so unprepared it was scary. My eyes bugged out when I seen a lady hiking through the river with a newborn. There was an older gentlemen with no stick trying to navigate a fairly easy part of the river and he almost fell in. I almost fell in a few times with a stick. I seen some people with two sticks. I am not sure if that is better as I needed my other arm to help keep my balance. I read a trick the was helpful -  to keep two points of stability on the ground at all times. When one leg is taking a step - your stick and your other leg should be on the ground. 
  • I wore layers - I had to take off my pants as I could not sinch them up any further. I had shorts on underneath. In some areas the water came up to the bottom of my shorts. I was told by someone who spoke to a Ranger that the water level was lower than it had been other years at the beginning of July. We didn’t even get to the deep part. I had my bathing suit on underneath just in case but it did not come to that.
  • It was like Christmas going to the Narrows. Every step and every turn I took was like a gift of amazing beauty. There is no way to adequately describe what you will see. You will be blown away.

  • There are some things I wish I did:
    • take more pictures: I did not want to be constantly looking at the scenery through the lens of a camera, on the other hand, I wish I did take more pictures, or at least video of my husband and I striving to navigate through the river. I think that would have been a great video to have.
    closest picture of my husband trekking through the water. A close up would have been good.

      • I wish I knew where I was in the Canyon. There are no trail markers. I knew this before hand but I thought from all my studying that I would be able to remember where I was. The only thing I did remember was the Orderville Canyon. There were some people confused when we got to this point. I was able to tell them which one was the main canyon - and that the other one was a side canyon they could explore. I suggested if they were here for the popular attractions - take the main canyon, if they had to choose between the two. I have since found a map - CLICK HERE - which I suggest to take a screen shot of so you have it handy on your camera if you need to reference it. 

    What an awesome hike! Go prepared and have fun!

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