Friday, January 17, 2014

Zion Narrows in Autumn

I had an opportunity to spend a few hours in Zion National Park in November.  Literally it was get to the park at 2pm on a Sunday and have until sunset.  Then drive back to Las Vegas.  Of course, I could not pass up that chance, and of course, I went right to the Narrows.

I have been to Zion in the summer months but always wanted to get there in November for the fall color.  I keep hoping to plan for a full week too, but when opportunity knocked, I took it.

Now if you have ever been to the Narrows, you know you wade into the Virgin River and walk in the water up into the canyon.  The water is chilly in the summer.  It's down right frigid in November.

Most people rent special waders and booties.  It allows them to wear base layers and wool socks.  They stay dry and probably fairly warm.

I went in shorts and Keens.

Having so little time, I did not want to waste any of it renting gear.  I clipped my Keen to my pack and boarded the shuttle bus for the end of the route at the Temple of Sinewava.  
Once I get there I hiked the mile down to where the trail ends and you wade.  It was already after 3pm and there was a line of people exiting the canyon.  I changed out shoes and socks for Keen sandals, shouldered my pack and waded in.

My first thought....WOW that's cold!

However, I was in Zion wading the Narrows......who cares about cold!!

I zig-zagged to stretches of dry ground then I was able to walk faster.  I also noticed my feet were instantly warm when I exited the water.  That told me they were already numb....

I made it up the canyon a few hundred yards and knew I best start making images.  My time is measured in minutes not hours before it is dark.  I set up the tripod and was looking for fall color, rocks, water, etc.

People were still walking out.  A few of them asked if I was cold.  I just smiled and said it was not too bad.  :-)

As the wind was blowing through the canyon I slipped on my thin lightweight down jacket and ultra-light rain jacket.  That made me pretty warm.  Well, mostly.

Besides, I was in the Narrows in November!  How cool is that!!

Answer-in the water really cool.  Downright cold.

I photographed as the light faded from the canyon and slowly started back to the entrance.

Everyone else was already out of the canyon.

I ended up making several images, a couple were even decent.

I got back to the trail, changed out to socks and shoes and realized my legs and toes were pretty cold.  I started back to the shuttle stop at a brisk pace to warm up.  then I saw a good scene and of course I stopped to photograph it.  

I walked on.  Then saw another scene.


Then another.

I finally got back to the shuttle stop at the edge of dark.  I was the last one back. FWIW, those who know me would say that is normal for me.

It was a long ride back to Las Vegas that night but wow was it worth it for a few hours in Zion in the fall!


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