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The Narrows: Hiking Essentials

TravelShannon GuerreroComment
The Narrows Hiking Essentials - Shannon Did What?

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As promised, I've complied a list of the essentials you should definitely have to hike the Narrows at Zion National Park.  Ok, they are optional but I'm telling you, these items will make your experience that much better.  After all you don't want to show up unprepared.  Well, you can, but I wouldn't really recommend that.  I did see some people trudging through the water in jeans and regular shoes.  They looked like they were struggling a bit.  While I was hiking through the Narrows, I kept a little checklist in the back of my head on what was useful.  I think doing this while I was actually in the Narrows really made me figure out what was really worth investing in.

1. GOPRO - I would definitely recommend investing in a GoPro.  I really struggled with whether I actually needed one before I left on my trip, but man I am so glad that I did buy one. Especially if you don't plan on getting a waterproof cellphone case, I would have some sort of camera to record your adventures.  You're definitely going to want to look back on this down the line.

2. QUICK DRY TOWEL - Just a great thing to have if you accidentally fall in or at the end when you want to dry off.  This way you won't be lugging around a giant (possibly wet) towel.

3. WATERPROOF BACKPACK - This is another route you can go instead of the waterproof bags.  I was fine with just the waterproof bag in my regular backpack, but my friend bought one and loved it.

4. WATERPROOF SHOES - The rocks can get super slippery when you’re wading through the water.  I bought aqua socks that I changed into from my running shoes at the start of the Narrows.  The only problem was that they only had a hard bottom.  When the rocks moved (and they will move), sometimes they would fall on my toes or I would stub my toes since the top and sides were just mesh.  Since you can’t really see through the water, you don’t really know where you’re stepping.

5. WATERPROOF BAGS - This may be the most necessary thing to have especially if you’re a photographer and have your expensive camera with you like I did.  I bought one of these to put my extra clothes, running shoes and DSLR camera in.  This type is completely waterproof.  I was a bit nervous wadding through the water knowing I was carrying precious cargo with me, but this bag was perfect and kept everything dry!  It comes in multiple sizes, too.  I got the 8L and it was just big enough.

6. QUICK DRYING CLOTHING - Try not to wear anything thats 100% cotton. It won’t dry fast and it can get chilly in the shade especially since the water is not warm.  Something that's dry fit material would be ideal.

7. HIKING POLES - I think this is definitely necessary.  I didn’t realize how slippery the rocks would be and that the current can make you pretty unstable.  If you’re anything like me (a little prone to falling) and don’t want to fall in, get one!  I think you can rent them for like $8 right at the Zion store. My friend let me use one of hers (you don’t really need 2) that she purchased online.

8. WATERPROOF CELLPHONE CASE - Would definitely recommend this if you’re going to want to have your phone out at all especially to take pictures. I’ve had this one forever and have never had a leak (fingers crossed).

 

For further details on my experience in Zion and where to go to hike the Narrows, click here.

Yours Truly // Shannon

Why You Should Visit Zion National Park

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

I’ve been struggling on deciding how to write about my day trip to Zion National Park.  I think the issue that I’m having is that Zion is an incredibly beautiful place and I really just want to do it justice.  Since I really did spend the majority of my time in the Narrows, I wasn’t sure if I could do Zion as a whole justice.  I mean you could probably spend a week here and still not feel like you’ve conquered the park.  So I’ve decided to split it into two posts, one on Zion as a whole and another (stay tuned!) where I’ll go into detail on what you should definitely bring to hike the Narrows.  Also, I’ve discovered since most of my time was spent in the Narrows with my camera in a waterproof bag I don’t nearly have enough photos of Zion.

One thing is for sure, if you are going to Zion, be prepared to hike.  I think you see the most beautiful sections of the park on hikes.  I’m really sad I didn’t have more time to do more exploring, but the Narrows was one of the best hikes I’ve ever made the decision to go on.

Once you arrive in Zion, you can get some really great views of the park on the drive in.  There’s plenty of places to stop and take pictures.  You really should try to aim at getting there early because the parking lots fill up really quickly.  If you do get there a little later (like we did) there is plenty of parking in the town of Springdale.  From there you take a shuttle to get to the Visitor center to enter the park.  There are multiple shuttle stops along the main road.  If you’re driving from East to West and pay at the East Gate but then you find yourself parking in Springdale, don’t forget to bring your receipt!  Without thinking, we left ours in the car and luckily were able to persuade the walk-in gate attendant to let us in and not have to pay twice. Remember this!

There are a bunch of great hikes you can take in Zion.  I had a few planned out that sounded like they had the most picturesque views of the valley.  We probably would have had enough time to do them had we not done Bryce Canyon that morning.  C'est la vie.  Canyon Overlook Trail is supposed to be easy.  About 1 mile and near the east entrance.  I really wanted to do Angels Landing.  It is actually a pretty strenuous hike with switch backs and a very narrow section at the end leaving you with cliffs on either side of the path, but it supposed to have the best views of the valley.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, though.

As mentioned, my favorite and only thing I did in Zion was to hike the Narrows.  To get to the Narrows, take the shuttle (inside the park, not to be confused with the Springdale shuttle) to the very last stop, Temple of Sinawava.  It takes about 45 minutes to get there with all of the other stops it makes.  Make sure you go to the bathroom here and fill up with water.  Then there is about a 1 mile walk on a paved riverside walk to the start of the Narrows.  This is the part of the Narrows that you don’t need a permit for.  That is for the bottom-down hike that takes nearly 2 days.  Here you can get situated and maybe change into water shoes and put your things in waterproof bags.  Don’t worry I’m posting a list of what to bring to the Narrows, so check back!

You can hike as far as you want wading through the waters of the Narrows.  Be warned, you will be walking through water a grand majority of the time.  There are sand banks on the side sometimes, but really you’re wading through the river.  You’ll be walking on slippery rocks and fighting the current.  I’m a shortie, so at some points the water got up to my waist!  I really didn’t think I’d enjoy this as much as did, but it was so much fun, even for a non-hiker like me!  Just remember to look up!  I found myself trying to make sure I didn’t fall into the water (which I didn’t, hooray!) and forgetting to look up at the beautiful scenery I was wandering through.

I will definitely be going back to this beautiful park!

Yours Truly // Shannon

Bryce Canyon

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

I kept seeing those commercials all over to visit the 5 Utah National Parks. Since then, I’ve been dying to go see those places.  Since we were definitely on a timed schedule for our cross country road trip, it was hard to pick and choose where to spend our time and make sure we did spend enough time at each place.  I was dying to go up further in Utah to see Moab, but that just didn't seem realistic.  The initial plan was to drive from Kanab, Utah (where we were staying overnight) to Zion National Park and spend the entire day there.   Yes, a day is definitely not a enough time to spend in Zion, but hey, you take what you can get.  In that spirit, I thought hey Bryce Canyon isn’t very far away.  What if we got up super early and drove to Bryce for magic hour before heading to Zion?  I am so happy we went with this new plan.

Bryce Canyon National park is probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.  Growing up, I had never been that much of a nature person.  Me and dirt weren’t necessarily best friends.  But as the years have gone by, nature and getting outside has really grown on me.  Maybe its because nature is so beautiful and I want to photograph it, but I definitely have way more of an appreciation for the outdoors.  It’s crazy the Bryce Canyon was created by just nature.  It’s hard to not appreciate the statuesque forms that make up the Canyon.

If you’re looking for a short hike to go on when you go to Bryce Canyon, take the Navajo Loop trail.  Its a relatively short hike, probably 1-2 hours, and is about little over a mile long.  The trailhead starts at Sunset Point.  Tip - If you get there early enough, there will still be parking at Sunset Point as opposed to parking elsewhere and being shuttled in.  Either way you go (you can go left or right) you have to go down a switch back trail and then it ends with a hike back up a switch back trail.  There’s a good amount of shade because there are so many giant trees in the canyon.  Although, I imagine, it does get pretty hot in the sun during the summer months.

What do those Visit Utah commercials say at the end? Oh ya, 5 iconic parks, 1 epic experience! Well, I can definitely say that they got it  right for this one.  Go visit Bryce Canyon!

Yours Truly // Shannon