Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 27 - Zion National Park, UT

We got up early, had a good breakfast, packed up our belongings and went on one of the coolest hikes you can imagine.  As you drive up the Virgin River, the canyon gets more and more narrow and eventually becomes a slot canyon.  It’s about 30 feet wide at the bottom in some places, wider in others, and the solid rock cliffs tower above you nearly 1,000 feet.  The hike is up the river . . . In the river.

Virgin River flow

I don’t have pictures to show you because I don’t have a waterproof housing for my camera and wasn’t willing to risk it or my iPhone on this trip.

UT Zion - The Virgin River Narrows

To navigate this hike successfully, you need good hiking sandals or closed-toe shoes, dry bags (or at least good ziplocks!), and walking sticks.  As you hike up the river, you are fighting the current.  The conditions vary with the time of year and weather conditions but for us, the water was mostly mid-calf but there were a couple of spots were we swam for a bit.  Sometimes the water is thigh-high on me (so higher on Gage!) and you sort of have to help each other through.  You can’t see the floor of the river but it is covered with river rocks of various sizes so each footstep has to be carefully placed.  I only fell once!

Aquilegia chrysantha

Needless to say, we were exhausted when we got back to camp.  Greg and the kids hiked about a mile up and then turned around.  I’d stopped a bit earlier than that.  We all felt that we could have gone further but you have to get back, too.  It was probably the highlight of the trip for all of us.

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