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The Narrows - Zion, UT
mini location map1995-08-30
4 by photographer avatarBarrett
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The Narrows - Zion, UT 
The Narrows - Zion, UT
Hiking avatar Aug 30 1995
Hiking3.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   4 Hrs      0.75 mph
100 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Karen and I stood at the entrance to The Narrows, Zion's premiere attraction, a row of walking sticks lay against the stone wall waiting for their next trip. As the first here, we had our pick and set our foot in the cold water of the Virgin River to begin. The river was only up to our knees, and the flow was gentle, but the visibility was almost zero, leaving the uneven bottom an exercise in deliberate foot placement. Neither of us had ever seen anything like it, trying to both focus on what we were doing and craning our necks at the dizzying walls that rose overhead. Over 1300 feet deep and only 20 feet wide in some places, it was both overwhelming and beautiful. Rarely did we set foot on solid ground, and in some places we found ourselves waist deep, using our walking sticks to balance against the current and find the next basalt bowling ball to place a foot on.
About a mile in we were startled as we came around a corner and met a group coming from the other direction. Their faces were pale and exhausted as they told the story of how they had tried to do the entire 16 mile Narrows from the top in one day, but one of them had sprained an ankle and they had to spend the night in the canyon without gear. We shared what little water and food that we had, let them know they were close to the end, and watched them slowly make their way downriver. :stretch:
We had planned on going quite a bit further, but this encounter made us feel nervous about what lay ahead, and we soon decided to head back. We took our time, taking pictures as the sun made it's way into the depths, enjoying the monumental geology. The stone walls to our sides, Kiabab Limestone, are the oldest layer exposed in the park. The same layer is seen at the very top of the Grand Canyon, but here it is stained red from the layers above, with 8 more layers representing 150 million years stacked on top.
We made it out, shook out our shoes and wrung out our socks, happy as clams and looking forward to that hot tub back at the motel! :)
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The Narrows
The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar.
It was tense.
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