Sunday, March 15, 2015

Zion Narrows

Just two days after the flash flood the river was almost back to its normal level.  It was not quite the chocolate milk it had been either.  The Narrows reopened and I decided I would go in the next morning and see if I could get some images.

I was on the second bus of the morning.  I knew the light would not happen until later mid morning when the reflected light bounces down the canyon walls.  However the sun needs to be higher in the sky.  I knew the best light would be after 9:30-10AM.  However since I had someone waiting on me I knew I would be pressed for time.  

I got to the last stop on the bus and made the walk to the launching into the river point.  Half a dozen people were there changing into their water gear.  One couple was already disappearing up the canyon.  I quickly changed into my Keen sandals and waded in.  It was cool but nothing like the cold I had experienced the prior November when I also waded in shorts and sandals.  

The river was low but not quite back to clear yet.  I was happy to be there again.

I took off up river with a plan of going to Orderville Canyon without stopping for images.  I have been in the Narrows a couple of times but never got very far, as I always stopped too much to make images.  Now since I had an early start, I decided to really leave the crowd behind.  

I moved upstream with my gear in my pack and a pair of hiking poles for balance.  The poles came in super handy and really gave me stability.


Orderville Canyon Meets the Zion Narrows
Within 15 minutes I caught and passed the first folks into the canyon and I kept going.  The light was still cool.  The water was cool too but I was moving at a good clip and making good time.

I wanted to stop but stayed true to my goal of going way up the canyon.

I made it to Orderville Canyon.  Note, there is no sign.  It's just the first obvious canyon you pass.  It is narrow.  Maybe 12 foot wide.  Looks mysterious.  

I stop and set the tripod and camera up.  Then start making images of both canyons.  The light is still cool, but I have the whole canyon to myself.  I used my phone to get a great panorama of the canyons meeting.  See that above.


The Narrows
I spend an hour there or just farther upstream towards what they call Wall Street.

Finally I notice the time when grabbing some snapshots with my phone.  I have to start down canyon.  I had yet to get the great light but I had to go.

I moved downstream and around the first bend I saw the light.  The sun was reflected off a far canyon wall and spilling golden bounced light through this stretch of the river.

I set up the tripod and made a couple of images.  Soon people appeared.  Then more.

I had a shot.  It was pretty good.  Hiking the Narrows is incredible.  I would easily rank it as one of the 10 best hikes in the entire NPS.  I fully enjoyed the hike and having the whole canyon to myself for a while.  As a photographer, I was extra glad to be able to get a great image too.

I packed back up and kept going downstream.

I soon passed a steady stream of people heading up canyon.  It was now pretty much impossible to get a good image with so many people.  I think the plan for next time will be to plan for the full day there.  Still get the early start and get way ahead of the crowd.  The work my way back down in the afternoon.

I kept going and only made a few snaps with my phone.  I had planned to be back at the trailhead at noon and got there at 12:05pm.  Just about perfect timing.

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