Virgin River Detail

Virgin River Detail

A small section of rapids on the Virgin River in Zion National Park

After waiting a few hours until mid-morning, the air temperature finally began to warm and the sun broke through the clouds. Before then, the thought of wading up the Virgin River seemed a bit preposterous. Truth be told, even with the slightly warmer temperatures, there wouldn’t be that many people making their way up the river on this chilly early November day.

We had held many discussions about the best way to dress for the hike up the Narrows. We contemplated renting the specialty pants and shoes provided by the local outfitters. But after considering it, we both agreed that the temperatures should still be warm enough to just use old shoes and normal hiking pants. We both agreed that our shoes would be preferable to the specialty shoes made for the slick river rocks.

So, loaded down with tripods, cameras in dry sacks, and light packs holding food and water, we began our trek up the Narrows. It was immediately obvious that the river was colder than I had anticipated. The good news was that my footwear choice was sound in regard to footing and my walking sticks gave me a stable platform. The river flow was moderate and rarely more than knee-deep. But, it was cold – numbing cold.

I don’t know how long we would have been able to stay in the river if it weren’t for the occasional shoals that were just above the water level. Even though direct sunlight was rare, the flats allowed us to have the water drain from our shoes and feel the dry, relatively warmer air temperatures.

Frankly, I had hoped that we would be able to move further back in the Narrows than we actually made it. We didn’t quite make it to the sections that I had envisioned. I have seen shots of the Narrows where the canyon walls are nearly vertical and the vegetation is minimal if nonexistent. The section we hiked was certainly nearly vertical, but there was much more vegetation than I had anticipated.

Still, I like some of the shots that I brought back out. This one is simply a section of the river where it flows over some of the smooth, round river rocks creating a small section of whitewater. The contrast of the turquoise water with the canyon face is simply beautiful. And, this shot gives the reader a good idea of the type of terrain involved in the hike.

I’ll post a couple more shots from the Narrows, but I’m already looking forward to heading back and hiking a mile or two further upstream. The Virgin Narrows is truly a unique and beautiful spot on planet Earth.

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