The World Famous Zion Narrows

It must have been about 2003 when a good friend asked me to lead a small group through the Zion Narrows, the world famous 16-mile stretch of Virgin River that runs through towering sandstone cliffs in the heart of Zion National Park. I enthuasiastically agreed.

Deciding that the trip should best be done as an overnighter, I suggested we forego tents and simply sleep on tarps on the ground. Our packs would be heavy enough with sleeping bags, warm clothes, lots of water and whatnot.

After securing our permits and arranging for a shuttle to the drop-in point near the Zion Ponderosa Ranch, we started our hike toward the legendary Narrows. It wasn't long before we were in their depths...and it was beautiful!

Enjoying the towering walls as they formed above us, the cold of the water against our calves as we waded along, we eventually came to our designated campspot at the confluence of Kolob Creek. Dinner was prepared, tarps put out and our sleeping bags positioned. Moods were high.

The sun lowered in the sky and shadows were cast.

And then someone noticed that our sleeping bags and tarps were crawling with spiders. Daddy Long-Legs, by the hundreds. Hysteria started to rise among the women in our group.

"Don't worry. They're not poisonous," I tried.

It didn't work. "What if...what if...what if..."

My consulations did no good. With final light approaching, I suggested everyone calm down, brush off the spiders, crawl into bed and try to get some sleep.

And sleep I did! Like a baby. Me and my buddy the only ones in the group; the girls spent the entire night shooing away creepy-crawlies.

I woke with a red face covered, and I mean covered, in spider bites. Ridiculous! Ludicrous! The irony!

Collecting our gear come first light and packing it away in our bags, I think we were all a little anxious to be on our way. Getting back into the river, we continued on, soon finding ourselves once again immersed in the stunning landscape around us.

Eventually coming to the confluence with Orderville Canyon, my buddy and I split off for awhile and explored up-canyon. Soon rejoining the others, we continued down-canyon past Big Springs, and shortly thereafter approaching the Temple of Sinawava and the end of our journey, the big, wet, steep slab that is the final rappel for the classic Mystery Canyon, a canyon I'd later get to enjoy with new friends.

All in all, the Zion Narrows was a wonderful, unforgettable, and transforming experience. Recommended for all!