We woke up to a weather forecast of no rain. No big deal, you probably think but one of the hikes we wanted to do was The Narrows (readers of my previous blogs may remember that this hike was my favourite thing ever. Still is). The Narrows hike involves hiking up the Virgin River until its branch at Orderville canyon. And by up the river, I mean in the river. After rainfall, Zion experiences very fast, very deadly flash floods which flow through the narrow canyons and kill everything in its path (might be an exaggeration but still pretty fatal to unlucky hikers). As rain was forecast for later in the week, we decided to do the Narrows today while the odds were in our favour.
We got into the canyon early, parked up and took a very crowded shuttle bus down to the river. A few people were paddling by the banks but you could tell the serious hikers – poles and staffs, waterproof clothing, wetsuit shoes. I was in pyjama shorts and trainers (great for hiking!) but I’m sure I wasn’t judged for it.
I LOVE water hiking. You have to go slowly so the current doesn’t wash you off your feet but there is something incredible about moving through ice cold water while the red sandstone canyons tower above you. Mostly the water reached between shin and knee but at times it was right up to the hip. I used leg muscles I didn’t know I had (and am feeling them now, as I type this). We passed waterfalls, cut-out subways of rock and marooned trees that had been ripped up by floods and deposited on random extremities of rock.
Further into the canyon, the walls become darker as well as rippled and grooved, where water has worn sweeping channels into the soft rock. Stunning stuff. Sadly, we reached the branch too soon and had to turn back (to hike the whole river, you need a permit. Damn you, Lesley Knope!).
Interestingly, our GPS tracker got a little confused during the hike, presumably due to the pings only being picked up when the signal was clear in the canyon. We did not hike 14 miles and leap across the canyon tops like some crazy x-men reject…
Back at the cabin, we decided to light a fire to cook dinner. A truly beautiful milky way lit up the white cliffs behind our cabin as we made s’mores. UK friends – s’mores are biscuit (Graham crackers, specifically), chocolate and marshmallow piled together and heated over a fire until melted and delicious. We skipped the marshmallow and substituted peanut butter. US friends – I find it really interesting that Graham crackers are pronounced ‘Gram’. Watching ‘Hannibal’ is a surreal experience whenever lovely, troubled Will ‘Gram’ is on screen. I think that’s why Hannibal goes mad and eats everyone. He’s infuriated by the pronunciation.
Miles hiked: 4 (don’t judge, hiking in water is hard)
Flash floods survived: none
Gators wrestled: none
S’mores eaten: 4