Located in Zion National Park is a popular hike known as The Narrows, a section of canyon where you hike literally in the Virgin River. This is often referred to as one of the best day hikes, not just on the Colorado Plateau, but in all of North America. This reputation comes at no surprise because I can absolutely agree with the well-deserved accolades.
The Narrows can be hiked either as an up-and-back from the Temple of Sinawava or from the top down, the latter being a 16-mile journey. I decided to take the former, more popular route. As soon as you arrive at the river's edge, you spend the rest of your hike in the wading in the water. Crowds are common in the beginning, but the further you journey the less people you encounter.
Food, water, river shoes, and a trekking pole are essentials for The Narrows. Depending on the time of year you go, be prepared! I went during the summer months and I wore shorts and a tank. As I traveled deeper into the canyons, it got really cold. Even if it is 100º F when you begin your hike, temperatures will drop significantly as The Narrows narrow (no pun intended).
Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Flash flooding is common in The Narrows and that is the last place you will want to be in the event of a flash flood! Don't be alarmed if you hear a little bit of thunder and get a light drizzle. You only need to be a worried if it starts to downpour. Then, it's definitely time to turn around and head back.
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The Temple Tree
Want to experience nature, and have it all to yourself? Go to Zion National Park. Go during the day. Sure, it's crowded. But it's amazing. Take in Angels Landing. It's one of the most beautiful hikes anywhere, not just for the narrorw passageway, but for the sheer drama of it all. Zion has that sense of drama.
But don't stop there.
Explore at night. Stay still, and watch the stars move. This photo, a very long exposure, shows the celestial movements of the heavens above (sure, it's the earth rotating and moving that creates the bulk of the movement, but shhhhhh.....we're being poetic here!).
This is a long exposure night sky photo with light painting. All color work was done during the exposure, and is not a Photoshop creation. And this photo was one of several that was featured on the National Geographic website, chosen as the Daily Dozen, and has been also won one of the best travel photos of the year in LA Times.
Zion National Park is one of those "must-sees" along with Arches, although you could probably say that about a lot of South Utah, which has got to be one of the greatest concentrations of beauty anywhere in the United States. And yes...it's great for stargazing!!!!!