My only decent picture from the Narrows.
The Narrows, aka one of the toughest hikes of my life, started bright and early (got there at 8am) so that we could avoid the crowds. It started with a close encounter with a couple of deer, less than 4 feet away, and beautiful if not cold day. We rented hiking gear from a shop in the town right outside of Zion National Park after doing some research. We rented neoprene socks, water sneakers, and some waterproof pants. I know we took a picture of it but I can't seem to find them now so here are other people's pictures:
And I'm glad we did since it kept us dry and warm for most of the hike. It only failed us when we got to a point where the water was higher than the waistline and then the water leaked in (and that's the point we pretty much turned around to go back). It also included the wood walking stick which looked goofy but was quite a life saver, especially when walking through places with rough currents.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. First off, what is the The Narrows? It's one of the more popular hikes in Zion where you are walking through the Virgin River between large canyons. Again here are other people's pictures:
On a busy day it can look like this since there are certain "optimal" spots in the river where you can cross from bank to bank, so those places become spots for traffic jams. Don't they look like ants?
This is how it was like when we went. Not too bad but pretty deep water, and we encountered places where the water was deeper than this.
You're basically walking in the river for a large part of the hike, especially the further you go (in the beginning you can cross the river and go from bank to bank). And it's not easy. First walking through water for hours is a good calorie burner but super exhausting. Add to that slippery round river stones, freezing water, and mini white water rapids where the current is really strong and it makes me wonder why it's so popular. Maybe tourists tell other tourists how it's a "must see" and dupe them into perpetuating the popularity of the hike. Well to be fair it is gorgeous, but I think you get more canyon beauty per unit of energy expenditure with Antelope Canyon (see Day 5). We went about 4 hours in and another 4 hours back, so about 8 hours of walking through water with a couple breaks in between. We just turned around when we felt like it since the Narrows pretty much stays the same (same beauty) even if you go a short distance or a long distance. But the Narrows hike can go for even longer than that! Some people hike from the other entrance to the river with camping gear, camp overnight, and then get out via the main entrance to the hike (basically hike it in reverse). 2 full days of walking through water! Eeesh
I only have that one picture up top since I kept most of my gear wrapped up in waterproof bags to keep it safe. But that meant taking a picture was a 15 minute event of unwrapping everything and then wrapping it back up. But despite the ordeal, that's pretty much my most favorite picture from the whole trip, or maybe it's because of the ordeal that I love that picture the best. I had to earn that one. But yea, if you're ever at Zion National Park you should hike The Narrows. I promise you won't forget it ;)