A while back, Bree was able to book us some permits to hike the entire Narrows Trail at Zion National Park. Unfortunately, we headed down on what was forecasted to be a rainy weekend, although in the Salt Lake Valley the weather was beautiful.We drove down the Colton and I listened to an audio book called The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson on the way down. It’s over forty hours long, so no way we were going to finish it. It was fantastic though, if anyone likes the epic fantasy genre I’d highly recommend it.
We followed Bree, Ben, and Marcus in a separate car for most of the way. But then around midnight we lost them, lost service, pulled over to wait for them, and my car died. So luckily we were on the right road or we would’ve had to camp out in some random person’s front yard for the night.There were signs of flash flooding over the past couple weeks everywhere. Some of the roads we drove on to find some free camping were mostly covered with the red mud of Southern Utah. Finally, around one in the morning, we pulled into a gully uphill from a river, decided it definitely wasn’t going to rain that night, and set up tents and tarps. I opted to set up our tent after I found little anthills everywhere. Bree, Ben, and Marcus just slept on a tarp..
Colton and I left our rainfly off because it was such a warm evening. I haven’t been desert camping in such a long time. Mountain camping is fun, but it’s so cold all the time. It was amazing to be able to look at the stars through my tent and only need my sleeping bag for warmth. It was amazing to wake up in the morning and not shiver even once, and get out of my sleeping bag to the same temperature of air. I woke up a while before everyone else and I just walked around our little campsite and marveled at the little details of the desert.
After talking to the ranger, we decided against hiking the Narrows top-down. But we could still hike from the River Walk trail and avoid any heavy rainstorms if we needed to. So we loaded onto the shuttles and enjoyed the mornings views of Zion. The weather was cool and overcast, the water pretty cold. But there’s no avoiding walking in the water, so you just get used to the water eventually. We found plenty of opportunity to jump in and swim around as well. Further into the Narrows, we found a bunch of people jumping off a large rock into a deeper part of the river. Obviously we couldn’t pass it up, so we took our turns eventually.
We kept hiking to another small canyon (I believe Orderville canyon) which branched off from the main river. That was definitely a slot canyon and it was beautiful. But by then the rain had started coming down and since it’d been raining most of the weekend we decided to head out back out where there was more higher ground in case of flash flooding. I don’t think I’ve ever been that wet without being immersed in water. We were already sopping from our jumps into the river, and now the warm rain was pelting us and coming down so thickly that I was thankful for my hat so I could still see. And then the thunder started. It boomed and echoed deeply around us, and canyon walls made it sound incredibly loud. It was so cool! By the time we hiked back out, I was getting incredibly hungry and I was more than a little chilled. We laughed at the sign that was put up at the trail head and marveled that people were still trying to hike up the river. (Someone actually did die the next week due to flash flooding.) We changed in the visitor’s center parking lot and headed to town for some dinner. We were all so happy when we finally got some food in us, since all we’d had that morning were Cheetos and donuts. Afterwards we walked around a bit through the continuing rain and stopped for some ice cream. I always laugh at Colton because he’s quickly turning into my grandpa, who I swear knows where every ice cream shop in the country is. As it started to get dark again, we drove back toward our camping spot from the night before. We chose a spot a bit higher up from the river than before and sat in our cars to wait for a break in the rain. After we set up our tents, we chatted for a while then settled in for the night.
A little while later a car drove up and we heard someone walking toward our tent. A man called out to us and said that we were actually on private property, but he does take donations because he was trying to get this spot cleaned up a bit to put up an actual campground. We were pretty skeptical of it but between all of us we only had like 10 bucks anyways so we figured we could afford that haha. The guy had a little name card and talked to us about his plans for the campground, and there actually were some parts of it that seemed to have some semblance of structures that had been washed away by the recent flooding. Whether or not he was lying we decided he deserved some money for being gutsy and claiming the area.
As we headed back to our tents the rain started again and there was a constant rumbling of thunder throughout the night. It was still very warm and I was reminded again how much I love desert camping.