The Narrows of Zion – Epic Desert River Backpacking
We started at 6am; breakfast burritos and instant Starbucks coffee, served cold. Yuck! We rode a shuttle that drove us 1.5 hours to the trailhead of the two-day Zion Narrows backpack trip trail head. Equipped with packs, trail running shoes, and trekking poles, we descended down the first section of the Virgin River. Our first steps in the river were cold at first since it was still 8am. As we hiked down through the river, ponderosa pines towered above us, posting themselves on small cliffs and ledges. The red sand stone began to surround us as we descended further down the river corridor.
We were so glad we brought trekking poles with us. Hiking through a riverbed is not as easy as one might think, especially with a backpack full of gear. This first section was Ian’s favorite; there were almost no people and we felt like we had the whole canyon to our selves.
As the temps rose to 90-plus degrees, hiking through the river was quite energizing. The deep narrow sandstone walls provided an abundance of refreshing shade. It hardly felt like a strenuous hike due to the epic surroundings.
Every hour or two, the call of a Canyon Wren would echo through the narrow passage. The Canyon Wren served as a friendly reminder that we were truly in Utah Wilderness. The hot desert complemented the lush riparian landscape as sandstone gates loomed thousands of feet above, twisting upward through the light and shadows.
We camped at a beautiful site with side canyon hikes near by. I made fettuccini Alfred over our camp stove. The stars were amazing. Only the rustling of Ring Tail Cats attempting to steel our food broke the sound of the rivers gentle and constant tumbling.
The next day was truly inspiring as we encountered natural springs, hanging gardens (similar to Hawaii in beauty), and even deeper sandstone canyon views. This was truly a trip of a lifetime.