Welcome

The purpose of this blog is twofold. First and foremost it is in preparation for an upcoming class that I will be teaching at the Lister Academy - it will allow for me to experiment with the technology that we will be using in the class, plus give a forum for my students and I to stay connected.
Secondly, this blog gives a nice side-effect that our friends and family can see what we're up to during our travels. I hope that all viewers (students, colleagues, friends and family) will enjoy the posts and feel free to leave your own comments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hiking the Narrows

One of the best known hikes in Zion National Park is hiking "The Narrows". This also means that it is particularly tourist-filled. We were given some advice by our canyoning guide, Hank (see previous post), that we should arrive at the park by 7 am in order to avoid the crowds - but after our day of canyoning, there was no way we were getting up and out early enough to make the 2 hour drive and be there that early. Instead, we dealt with the crowds.

The Narrows isn't actually a trail - we took the shuttle bus all the way into the canyon to the last stop, then walked a one mile paved trail called the River Walk, then at the end of the trail got into the river and hiked upstream into the canyon - that's "Hiking The Narrows". It was great - an incredibly unique hiking experience! We took pictures and video but they can't quite capture how the changing light makes the canyon feel magical.

While we didn't take Hank's advice about the timing, we did follow his instructions regarding preparation. We rented walking sticks from their shop, and boy am I glad we did. There were lots of people that were in the water unprepared - stumbling around without walking sticks and trying to hold their packs out of the water so all their stuff didn't get wet. We had all of our supplies in water-proof bags and containers inside our pack, so we weren't worried even if we did take a spill (which we actually never did).

After all of the times that I've seen signs and warnings in other places that you shouldn't cross moving water because it can so easily sweep you off your feet, it was a bit strange to have a park specifically encourage you to do so on one of their hikes. They do give lots of warnings, and the Zion Adventure Company will only rent sticks and other equipment to people after they watch a video and have conversations about proper safety. The going was quite difficult, particularly because the water was not clear so it was impossible to see what you were stepping on each time you moved. After about an hour in, the crowds had thinned considerably and it was really nice. After another half hour we stopped and ate and then made our way back out - which was faster because we were going downstream, but certainly not any easier.
video

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