We are in Zion National Park in the southwest corner of Utah and it is by far everyone’s favorite. The colors of this park are so beautiful. The river is this clear green blue that has the gentlest ripple. The trees and bushes are a range of greens and the gold colored grasses are the greatest contrast. The mountains have almost every color in them. They have layers of different rock in them that range from bright red to a sandy stone color and eventually a deep red that almost looks purple. This park is continually showing off and I am here for it. I wish I could easily get two more days here.
We have a great campsite right next to the Virgin River and the park entrance. On the other side of the River is the town of Springdale with stores, markets, breweries, and several little stores. We have been walking into town the past two nights and taking the free shuttle to dinner. It has been a treat to skip out on cooking.
As you can guess at this point, if there is water near our campsite our kids are in it. They had the most fun repeatedly walking up stream and then floating down the river. They couldn’t figure out why other people weren’t taking advantage of this place. I guess our kids really aren’t hiking kids as much as they are water kids.
We did drag our kiddos hiking much to their disappointment. We took the shuttle in Zion which is the only mode of transportation in the Summer into the canyons. Addy said she really liked that and it reminded her of Disney world with all of the people lining up in matching shirts and waiting not so patiently for a bus to take them to their chosen park/hike. I kept following the tour guide, Greg, and not really questioning things. I didn’t realize our first hike was a 1000ft elevation gain and 4 mile hike. Needless to say none of us completed it. I did one mile up and another down with the girls while Eric and Greg got as far to the top as they could before they were exhausted. They said the path to the top was short, very steep switchbacks up. The girls and I had such a nice leisurely walk back down where we spotted a rattlesnake with the park ranger on the path and took a few breaks by the river.
If you have done any research about Zion you have heard about The Narrows. I really wanted to hike it but I do have a small phobia of water so I was trying to figure out how to conquer that with three kiddos in tow. The Narrows is where the Virgin River runs through these very small slot canyons and you hike pretty much the whole way through the water. The water is pretty cold in The Narrows because the sun rarely gets all the way down to the bottom. We somehow got the kids to agree on going to do the very easy rated Riverside walk next to The Narrows. It ends at the base of The Narrows and you can take some fun pictures there and watch everyone going in. We got there and it was amazing! I was really kicking myself for not just biting the bullet and getting us all outfitted in neoprene socks for the cold water, waterproof hiking boots, and walking sticks.
I stood there for over 40 minutes and finally to the shock and surprise of my husband just started walking in with my shoes on. I didn’t go very far because I didn’t want to leave everyone behind waiting for me but I got far enough to really feel the wonder of The Narrows. I am still hours later trying to find the words to describe the experience and I know that I won’t do it justice but I can say that tears came to my eyes as I surged through the water while others were struggling with nothing but sneakers on and the biggest smile on my face of saying “I did it!!!” I came back with complete awe at the beauty of this place only to be greeted by my son in bare feet crossing the water on his own to meet me.
As you can imagine our kids were begging us to take them back to the campsite and let them wade in the river again. Greg and I were begging for just one more hike but of course we gave in. The shuttle from The Narrows back to our campsite took just about 20 mins and almost long enough for Maggie to fall asleep. She perked up really fast when we told her we would feed her lunch though. We took a nice long lunch in our RV since the sun was really shining its hottest and had all of the kids write postcards to their friends. It’s only been a few weeks out of school and they almost forgot how to hold a pencil to write their postcard.
Once the chore of writing was done the suits were on and they headed out with Greg. I took a moment and walked back to the visitors center. I held my breath as I walked in, you can imagine the scent of sweaty hikers as they come down the mountains, and leisurely shopped. I finally got my souvenir t-shirt, mailed my postcards, picked up a few more and headed back out to join the others.
It’s evening now and the stars are really starting to emerge and show their true colors. I am in awe of the brightness of them and wish the moon would dim itself down just a little. Greg is sitting out here with me drinking his evening tea and I am cuddled in a sweatshirt. Life is pretty darn good now and God only knows what tomorrow holds as we have an unexpectedly long drive to Bishop, California due to some last minute alerts to construction along the route.
Zion we aren’t finished with you and I can promise you I will be back to conquer the full Narrows. Next time I won’t be driving here though.