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08 September 2009

Labor Day Weekend in the Narrows

Disclaimer: I really did have a fantastic time on this trip. It was alot of fun and I'm sure that I'll probably end up doing this hike again. Spending a weekend in southern Utah is never a bad way to spend a weekend, especially when you're with your fiance. However, the hike was super hard and I'm still sore and I'm apparently still wallowing a bit in the misery. Oh, and the canyon walls are incredibly beautiful and breathtaking...you just don't get to enjoy them much because you're too busy worrying about not breaking your leg.

On Friday afternoon, I flew to Salt Lake City to spend the weekend with my fiance Tim. We had big plans to head down to Zion National Park to hike the Narrows. We got up Saturday morning, headed to Target to buy hiking snacks, and then drove down to Springdale, Utah. We checked into the Bumbleberry Inn and then spent the afternoon walking around the touristy shops and spending some much needed time together. We met Tim's friends, Ryan and Tara, and then headed over to Zion Adventure Company to pick up our sexy hiking shoes.

Then we ended up at the Wildcat Willie's Ranch Grill and Saloon for dinner. My steak, potato, and squash was delish, but I think I was the only one who had great food. We ended up back at the hotel to plan our trip.

I should probably mention that in order to hike the Narrows, you have to have a permit. The group we were planning on going with only got 7 permits, so our little group had pretty much decided to do the Bottom-Up hike. However, at the hotel, we changed our minds and ended up making the decision to do the entire hike. Let me show you the description... "Walking the entire length of the Narrows can be a rewarding—and grueling—experience. Under favorable conditions, the 16-mile route from Chamberlain's Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava takes an average of 12 hours to complete. Even for well-conditioned hikers, this makes for a long and strenuous day. Because Chamberlain's Ranch is a 1 1/2-hour drive from the Temple of Sinawava, either two vehicles or a shuttle is required. A backcountry permit is also necessary. Permits may be obtained at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center the day before the hike." Yeah...this was what we were doing...

On Sunday morning, we woke up at 5:30am and made the 90 minute drive up to Chamberlain's Ranch. When we arrived, the temperature was 47F and was chilly. I was not looking forward to tramping around in 60F water with it being this cold. However, I figured, why not...

Tim was awfully chipper and was ready to go. Apparently, blueberry muffins are a great pre-event breakfast for him. I, on the other hand, do not eat muffins.

We started our hike through a meadow with some cows. It was probably my favorite part of the hike. We came across a rundown cabin and decided to take some pictures and I broke out the trail mix.


We hiked for awhile until we got into the canyon. Probably, you could have followed us since I was leaving a nice trail of raisins along the way. I don't eat raisins ever...blech.

Once we got into the canyon, things got a bit dicey. I'm apparently an ignoramous because I really had NO idea what I was getting into. You get to "hike" (except its not really hiking...not sure what to call it) through the river, which is covered in boulders and slickery rocks and ankle breakers and really really rough terrain. Oh and did I mention that there are shear cliffs on both sides of you.

We walked and slipped and hiked and snacked and fell into really cold water...and we know how much I love to be wet...NOT.


We hiked about 9 miles or so and I was feeling pretty good. My feet were sore from all of the unstable surface "hiking" but I wasn't too tired. We stopped for snacks at Deep Creek and relaxed for a bit.

We didn't have alot of time for pictures because we had to keep the camera bagged up so it didn't get wet, but we did manage a few.




At one point, I was walking behind Tim and a very sharp pointy tree branch got caught on his backpack. Of course, it flew back smacked me in the mouth, busted open my lip and caused a gusher. I was so startled that I started to laugh. Tim turned around and saw that my lip was bleeding alot. He told me to rinse it off in the river. I told him to hand me a water bottle instead. Once we got it cleaned up, it didn't look so bad. However, I did end up with a puffy lip. The branch hit me so hard that it knocked my visor backwards and my sunglasses into the river. Thank goodness Tim saw them...they're my favorites.

We kept hiking along and it was finally warm enough for bathing suits. Silly me...I wore red clown shorts and a red top... I look fantastic!

We met up with the other people from our group at around mile 11. They had hiked from the bottom up. I was feeling good and ok until about that point. I think at this point, I started whining. My toes were killing me and my right shoulder was really sore. Oh and did I mention that I really hate being wet. We were walking through water almost the entire time by this point. I was tired and cranky. Oh and did I mention that walking on big rocks and boulders that you can't see is awfully fun...

We hiked passed 12 Foot Falls.

We stopped at Big Springs to rest. I mostly just wanted to keep going. I was ready to be done. It was especially great to hear that we had 4 more hours to go.

At some point, Tim said, "If I step on one more freakin' rock..." Of course, a few minutes later, he stepped on a rock and fell down. I started cracking up and he was laughing as well. Probably the people behind us thought I was incredibly rude, but it was really funny. Mostly, we were just delirious and ready to be done. Tim says he looks like a psychopath in this picture.

Finally, we made it to the end. It was maybe the longest, hardest "hike" of my life.

My feet were so trashed. My big toe on my left foot was black (until I did surgery on it this morning) and the rest of my toes are dark red. Mostly though, my feet are just swollen.

So, while the hike was really tough, there were some high points. Probably my favorite was all of the time we got to spend doing this...

Oh, and did I mention that Tim has already committed us to do this again next year. We may have to have a conversation about that.

3 comments:

Barb said...

Must not have been too bad, cause every picture, you are either smilin' or kissin'!! And hey, that cut made your lips look like Angelina Jolie! Nice. Glad you had a good time...but next year? I think I'd put in my 2 cents!

Sarah said...

Love the post, and I'm with Barb--it doesn't look like you were too miserable. =)

Maybe you can convince Tim to hike Havasu instead. It's about the same distance one way, but the end result is awesome swimming holes and waterfalls. I did it 4 months preggo with my 1st, and it was fine. We hiked in one day, stayed overnight (the reservation there had a lodge so we didn't have to shlep in all our stuff), swam and played the next day, then hiked back out. If I had it to do again, I'd take one more day.

Carolyn said...

you made it look like a great time and funny too! I am so excited to visit Utah and hike after the marathon to see the beautiful sights with my own eyes that you always talk about. thanks for sharing your days adventures!