Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Narrows

The Narrows is one of the premier hikes Zion National Park.

At the back of Zion Canyon the canyon becomes very narrow (hence the name) and you follow the Virgin River in a place that is maybe 25 feet wide and probably 1000 feet deep.

It is not a hike in the traditional sense as you are not on a trail but instead you are wading up a river. The river often is wall to wall. In places it can be deep but in mid summer it was mostly knee deep on me.

I had a chance to visit the park and wade some of the river one afternoon but this was going to be the first chance to really photograph it.

I caught an early shuttle bus and made my way to the last stop and started walking the short trail to the waters edge. After trading out shoes for sandals, making sure my camera gear was sealed in Ziplock bags, and getting my trekking poles out, I started up stream.
An advantage of starting early is you can beat some of the crowds of mid-day.

One of the first things you notice is the water is cold. It was July and the temp was going to 105 that day and the river was cold. Some of the outfitters in town rent special dry booties to keep your feet warm and hel
p protect you from the rocks but for summer water a good pair of Keen sandals was all I needed. BTW-the trekking poles are a huge help with keeping your balance. No one like to slip, but with a pack full of camera gear you never want to slip.

It was not that far into the canyon when I found a good sandbar and some nice light bouncing down off the canyon walls. I started setting up the camera and then went to work making images.

The light is everywhere and it is amazing to wade into the river with camera to find the best compositions.
I spent at least half of an hour in that first spot and only pressing time made me go. So I packed back up and started further upstream.

It was then I made a decision that I needed a pocket camera as it seemed every step was a new image and my camera was safely sealed in plastic. I need something handy for moments like this.

The scenery was amazing and it was not long before another sandbar became a place to stop and I got the camera back out.

I continued this for a while but it seemed I was not getting very far. This is someplace to devote time to, not make a quick trip of.


Here are just a few of those images from that short morning. I think my favorite is the last one with the glowing light on the weeping wall and the water running over the stones of the river. That really captures the sense of place what it is like when you are in the Narrows.

You might also notice the small waterfall cascading down into the river in the middle image.

A breathtaking place. Already on my list to get back to.

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