Saturday, December 26, 2015

Zion Narrows - A Startling Labyrinth

Zion Narrows

Deep inside Zion National Park, the red-rock walls start closing in. There, our first experience in the dark chasm was negotiating that startling labyrinth known as The Narrows.

At first you follow a traditional pathway but after a mile, the river becomes the road. From this starting point, the shallow stream is about ankle high but before long you’re wading through water that is waist deep.

Tinted a muddy green, the Virgin is an unpredictable force propelled by a swift current that gets even stronger as the canyon becomes compressed. Thunderstorms that occur miles upstream can create a dangerous situation for unsuspecting hikers in Zion.

Heavy rainfall can send a powerful swell through the unforgiving gorge, trapping anything unlucky enough to be stuck inside. Fortunately, our canyoneering experience was filled with nothing but beautiful scenery and blue skies.

Due to unstable footing, attaining the mysterious slot was a slippery endeavor but well worth the struggle. The way out went much better as the brisk water swept us smoothly back to our original port of entry.

I found the Southwest to be anything but desolate as the unusual landscape shocked my senses with wonder and awe. I’ve spent years observing how things work in the mountains but life in the desert remains a mystery.

Traveling through Utah was such an eye-opening experience that I’d like to record my impressions with pencil on paper but I’ve found it too difficult to describe. Maybe if I close my eyes and dream about the extraordinary colors everything will turn out fine.

Red-rock walls start closing in

A startling labyrinth

The river becomes the road

The shallow stream

The virgin river is muddy green

A swift current

An unforgiving gorge

Beautiful scenery

Unstable footing

An unusual landscape

The desert is a mystery

It was an eye-opening experience

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