Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Notes From the Road, Day 3

We kicked off today at 5:30 AM, when some "strange noises" coming from the room next door woke me up. You know what I'm talking about... enough said. Later in the morning, I had the pleasure of discovering that the plumbing in our hotel room is terrible, both on the supply side (majorly inconsistent water pressure) and the drain side (our shower more or less doesn't drain.)

With the issues of the morning out of the way, we made our way two blocks down the street to the Springdale Loop shuttle stop to catch the free shuttle that goes to the visitor's center at Zion National Park. From there, we paid our entrance fee ($12 per person or $25 per vehicle) and walked through the park gate and over to the Canyon Shuttle stop. We rode the Canyon Shuttle to the end of the line and hiked for a mile on the paved river walk trail to get to the start of the Zion Narrows hike.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Zion Narrows, it's essentially a hike through the Virgin River (upstream in our case to start, downstream on the way back) where water shoes and a walking stick are required. More than 90% of the hike is through the river itself -- we were frequently wading in knee-high water. In a couple of places, it got up to my mid-thigh. We hiked upstream for about 2 hours and 15 minutes when our pre-set alarm went off and told us it was time to head back. The return trip took a bit over an hour because we didn't stop for pictures and because going with the current downstream is significantly easier than going against it. Courtesy of Darrick, here's a panorama of one of the less-wet portions of the day. That would be me standing there holding our hiking sticks.

The Narrows; Click image for larger size.

After returning to the trailhead for the paved trail, we stopped for a bit to dry off our feet and change back into our hiking boots (which thankfully hadn't been stolen, since we left them there with other people's shoes instead of taking them in the river with us) and walked back down to the shuttle stop. After that, we returned to Springdale and had dinner at a Mexican Cafe. Now, we've returned to our room to look at our pictures for the day. They look good.


JuLo said...

Is it BYO walking stick? Or do they provide them? :) Sounds cool!

Jason said...

You're supposed to know to bring your own... but people find good ones along the trail and leave a bunch of them at the trail head for general use. It's kind of an honor system thing -- use one, return when done. I got a particularly good one. :-)