Zion! Zion National Park. Today was one of the most anticipated hikes of the trip, the Narrows, a turn-around hike with the first mile being paved, crazy easy, then up to 5 more miles in a river. Upstream first, downstream last. Sounds awesome! And it was-ish.
Zion is such a tricky park to get into. Two lane road with heavy traffic. We arrived at the park today at 8 and the traffic was heavy, even at that bright hour. After parking and being not really helped by the ranger at the station, we had to take a 40 minute bus ride to the trailhead. (There were eight stops, so Zoe figured out that the mean travel time was 5 minutes per stop, not counting the waiting time to add/subtract new passengers. How’s that for Common Core math, Ms. Lockie??)
We got off the bus and were immediately greeted with what we have been avoiding at all the other parks: a large crowd. We quickly worked past the masses and on our way to the river. It was beautiful, huge canyon walls reaching for the sky that seemed so distant. Just stunning.
Our first steps in the water brought be back to reality from the beauty. The water was cold! It was still early, temperature in the high 70s, but we all remarked how good that water would feel when we reached the projected high of 99.
The other part that awakened me was the slippery rocks. The entire river and river bed is made up of rocks, about the size of hams. They were incredibly slippery. Like, well, slippery hams. Each and every step had to be imaculatly placed. Placed in a river, a river that was waist deep at times.
I broke my left ankle three years ago and it still gives me a rough time occasionally, so I tend to overcompensate with my right ankle, especially for all the hiking we’ve done recently. Fighting against the rapids, in the recommended water sandals, were torture on my ankles. It was hard!!
Zak and Ellie teamed up and were the superstar alliance. Zoe and I were the more pitiful straglers. I do think that Zoe was just being kind to me, but I’ll take her as a buddy anytime. The two of us were slipping and sliding all over the place. A handful of times we landed on our knees, bums, or bellies in the water. Keep in mind this is a VERY popular and busy hike. I’m sure we were the laughing stock of many behind us.
We made it about 3 miles in the river, before we had to turn around. Zoe and I were both in tears. (There I go crying in the parks again.) I think Zak was a bit disappointed, because we were finally reaching a less popular area, since not too many make it that far.
I had assumed that going back, downstream, would be quicker and easier, but due to the rocks, it was just as challenging. And the closer we got the trailhead the more and more crowded it became. I’m talking huge daycare camps, tour groups, just masses and masses of people. That meant that we were all fighting for the same few viable paths.
I feel like another thing that took away from this hike is the shear disrespect of the park by many. I still can’t get over all the garbage we saw. Just disgusting.
However, I’m sure the canyon itself was simply beautiful, but I was just too focused on not dying that I couldn’t take the time to notice.
After we completed the hike and took the 40 minute bus ride back, we got in the car and drove the 2.5ish hours to Las Vegas.
Before even making it to our room, we stopped at a Baja Fresh. Since the LaGrange one closed six years ago, we’ve been craving it. (Actually, the last time we had it was when we were here on the road trip 5 years ago.) Just as good as always. We were even able to catch the end of the Blackhawks game.
We are staying at The Signature at the MGM and it is remarkable. A lovely apartment room with more sinks than we have in our house. It is huge! And fancy! Downside is we don’t have a colorful shower head.