On Tuesday June 20, after our Red Cliffs hike, swim, and two hour nap, we finally got ourselves up, ate more chimichangas, and drove into Springdale (the town right next to Zion) for our first taste of Zion and The Narrows.
The Narrows is the name of the hike that goes back 18 or so miles up the Virgin River, the river being the actual trail. It was this river that flooded during our trip in 1995 that evacuated all campers and stranded 450 people in the canyon at the Lodge. They always warn hikers to check the weather and be wary since if there is a flood, it could kill you. The canyon is narrow (hence the name) and it fills with water quickly. People have died in floods there before. Where weren't even any clouds anywhere in sight (or not in sight) when we were there so we were good. Also, this was the absolute number one hike on my list. I could've spent days out there, and people do - they camp so they can do the entire thing. This evening we only did maybe a half mile, if that.
To get into the actual canyon at Zion, you have to take a shuttle because no private cars are allowed (unless you stay at the Lodge where my sister used to work) and although I knew this, it was a bit tricky trying to find our way around the first time. We parked on the side of the road in Springdale, rode a shuttle bus to the Visitor Center, and discovered we had to board a second bus into the canyon. It was a bit of a walk to the Visitor Center but at least there was no long line. By this time it was 7:30pm and most people we out of the canyon. It was perfect.
As we drove up the canyon, one of the only people on the bus, we were able to just gawk out the windows and let the glory take us. Every other day on the bus it was so packed that you couldn't even look out the windows. I'm so glad I took some photos this night since I couldn't later on. Plus, the light was perfect.
The first thing the bus driver pointed out was the Court of the Patriarchs. These three mountains are known as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. How cool is that?! Gorgeous too.
I can't remember what this is called, but it was just around the corner from the Court of the Patriarchs. I'm trying to remember if this is actually Angel's Landing, which Terry did two days later...
Don't remember this one either but who cares. So beautiful!
Even the kids were taking it all in.
We rode the shuttle to the last stop, The Temple of Sinawava, departed, and started walking up the one mile paved sidewalk known as Riverside Walk. Once that came to an end, we were finally there: The Narrows, the river hike.
Walking along as fast as we could since time was limited, but at the same time taking in the amazing rock walls all around.
Getting close to where we could get in the water...
Picture time, as if that ever really ends for me.
Getting closer... Just look at those walls!
Very close now.
We made it! This is what it looked like when the Riverside Walk came to an end and you could enter the water. It's a ghost town! It would be the complete opposite the following morning when we came back.
The pebbles along the bank as we got in.
I was just a tad excited. I was SO HAPPY!!!
Finally in the water!
The kids really enjoyed this evening, though it was short. We had to catch the last shuttle back to the Visitor Center at 9pm. We didn't enter the water until 8:22pm so we only had like 20 minutes in the river. I was sure wishing we hadn't slept so long.
Noah hamming it up meant he was happy.
No Wilted Flower on this hike!!
There were a lot of crevices in the walls and the kids would climb into all they could. This was the first one they spotted.
A fuller picture of that crevice.
I took a short video at this same time, right when Evie was jumping out of that crevice. You can hear Noah say how hard it is to walk. For kids is really was. We had to hold the littles hands constantly. An adult on their own could cover way more ground. I'd read hiking in the river was like walking over bowling balls coated with Vaseline. It wasn't near that difficult! They make a pretty penny renting these special socks, tall boots, and walking sticks to tourists going up the Narrows. It would probably be better not to wear close-toed sandals like we all had (hiking boots would be better), but it was totally doable for what we did. If we were going further, actual hiking boots would be better. I'd suggest socks too, but no need for the neoprene kind.
Terry has this live photo saved as his phone screen wallpaper. If you press down on it you can see the kids moving. I LOVE IT!
Moving beyond the initial rocky bank across from where you start.
My adventurous Evie girl.
The water was so clear and pretty with no algae coating the rocks like our Hills rivers.
Resting against the wall. Seriously this is the time of day to hike here!
Noah felt adventurous too and sat down in the water.
15 minutes later and it was time to go since we still had a one mile walk down to the shuttle. I badly wanted to keep going, "Just one more corner!" but no, we had to go. I longingly looked ahead and snapped this photo before turning around. Terry and I agreed to try to come as quick as we could the next day and spend the entire day here. So what if it was 100+ degrees? At least we'd be in the water. We talked many times of coming back in the off season as well. The huge crowds were not desirable.
Back to the end of Riverside Walk.
Good bye to most perfect place on earth! Or that's how it felt to me that night.
On the way back down the Riverside Walk, Terry and the kids amused themselves by climbing this long steep boulder.
The littles needed Daddy's help.
But they all made it and click, I took a picture, and we had to hurry back to the bus.
We saw a young buck with velvet antlers bedded down for the night.
Just getting back to the bus stop, and though it was a super late night for us, that bus driver was a blessing. He gave us excellent tips for the next day. But I don't think we got to bed until 11:30pm that night since we had to wait around at the Visitor Center forever for a bus plus the ride back to Hurricane (one of his tips was to avoid the Visitor Center). I could not wait for the next day though. It had been a perfect evening, and left me wishing we hadn't waited so long to come.