Have I mentioned my complete lack of athletic ability yet? If not, let it be noted now for the first time of many times. I have often said that when I attempt to perform any athletic feat, I not only injure myself but others and I have proven this many times over in my life.
Despite this though, my husband and I found ourselves in need of a quick getaway and we decided to visit Zion National Park for a little hiking and unwinding. Hiking in Zion’s is known to be a little tough and not for the faint of heart. At least that’s what I thought, I mean, people die there! This is why I’d avoided it for so long even though it practically sits in our backyard.
Come to find out, there are hikes and really, walks of all levels that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Zion’s sits at the end of a little tourist trap town called Springdale. It is an absolutely lovely little town and I will have to tell you more about it in another post, but this post is about the hiking in Zion’s. On our second day in the park we were tired from hiking up to the Emerald Pools, but eager for more adventure, we set out on the Riverside Walk trail, a half mile walk on mostly paved ground. Here I am on the Riverside Trail that morning. Don’t ask about that green on green outfit. I have no idea what I was thinking.
Little did I know, the end of this modest trail opened up to the entry of the famed Narrows.
The Narrows is a section of the Virgin River in which tall, vertical canyon walls flank each side of the river for miles and miles. The trail you hike on is the river itself. You get in by the river and out the same way. There are no shortcuts and you are shin to waist deep in water most of the way.
As we stood at the mouth of this natural wonder, the river lapping at our shoes, I looked up and saw my husband salivating at the thought of conquering this river. I think I felt my stomach sink and I might have said a colorful word or two. I was scared to death, but I knew I could not deny him this adventure.
So, without another thought, I plunged my pink tennis shoe into the iced cold water and felt it quickly soak my sock. I swore again and stuck in the other shoe and walked. He said, “really?”, and I nodded a stoic little nod and hauled ass out into that river leaving a bunch of people to stand on the side and contemplate whether or not they were going to do the same.
And so we walked for miles, navigating the cold rushing water, dodging river rocks, and marveling at the shards upon shards of looming canyon walls at our sides. Even the relentless afternoon sunlight couldn’t keep the trail from being tinged with the shadows of the canyon walls.
We started amidst a big group of people and then we found ourselves mostly alone, amongst only the brave experienced hikers and those like us, too naïve to know what we’d gotten ourselves into.
We’d stop every now and then to catch our breath and take in our surroundings. I felt a sob catch in my throat more than once. I couldn’t tell whether it was the sheer beauty of the canyon or the thought that I had conquered the trail-and my fears with it. I just felt emotional and as exhausted as I was, I felt invigorated.
When we finally reached the end of the Narrows, our feet were hamburger. We opted for the shuttle bus back to our hotel. Like sore muscles after a good workout, I knew I’d earned those sore feet. I felt like the day was one to remember.
I leave you with a couple photos from that beautiful place, and a simple challenge:
Do what you are afraid to do. Do what you think you can’t.
Then revel in your accomplishment.