Monday, May 19, 2014

Experiencing the Narrows at Zion National Park

Notice I said "experiencing" the Narrows, not "hiking" the Narrows. You'll understand what I mean soon.
The Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge in the upper reaches of Zion Canyon - 16 miles long, up to 2,000 feet deep, and at times only 20 to 30 feet wide.
The Narrows, with its soaring walls,
Sandstone grottos,
Natural springs,

And hanging gardens
Can be unforgettable no matter how you experience it.
If you hike the whole 16 miles it will take all day, and at least 60 percent of it is spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the river, which is swift and cold.
So Birdie and I savored the mile-long riverside walk up the canyon, and then just sampled the cold river a short ways towards the narrowest section.
The Riverside Walk is a paved trail and overlooks the river, but there is another unpaved trail right by the water which we preferred most of the way.
I liked being at the water level.
And the birding was good too. This wren has a nest in this tree and was fussing at us.
We got here early before the crowds, and had this trail next to the river to ourselves.
Most of the people who got off the shuttle with us hurried down the paved trail to the head of the Narrows.
 They missed a lot. We saw Swifts and American Dippers flying over the rapids.
 Lots of wildflowers growing in the marshy land.

Back on the paved trail a bit to enjoy the hanging gardens.


 Another view of the river.
 A raven's nest with 3 babies almost ready to fledge.
 Can you find the nest between the two trees?

 Momma raven looks blue the way the sun shines on her feathers.

Another of God's flower arrangements.
And a few more views of the Virgin River.

A couple more wild flowers...
A mule deer crossing the river.
A young buck.

Eventually we came to the place where the trail enters the river.
 And from there the river is the trail.
An assortment of hiking sticks for those who forgot theirs. I guess the one on the right is for Paul Bunyan.
 Birdie is such a good sport. I know this hike was not on her list.

 There are some places where you can walk on rocks out of the water.
 I'm grinning, but my feet are already numb.

 She's grinning too, or maybe that's her teeth chattering.

 The water was getting swifter and deeper. People up ahead were in up to their thighs. My legs aren't that long, so I suggested we turn around here.
 But we had a great experience.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a really fantastic place. Seems kind of hard on the hiking boots not to mention the body in the cold water.


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