Linnie Aikens Arts and Letters • HeART Haven Studios

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Hiking the River Walk and the Narrows Trails, Zion National Park, Utah


Today I walked the mile River Walk then another 3+ hours up through The Narrows, up to Big Springs, before turning back.  It’s a 16 mile “trail” through the Narrows otherwise!  I couldn't think of a better way to spend the 4th of July.  The trail begins with a lovely forest of cottonwoods predominantly.  You’re surrounded by warm and cool greens of every value and texture.  You get a sense of lushness and peaceful freshness.  The River Walk is well maintained and conducive to the leisurely romantic stroll, should one choose.  I have to content myself with the larger definition of "romantic" in my case!


This is a picture of the “Alcove”, where a large semi circle is carved deep into the base of the rock mountain, leaving a a substantial overhang and a natural-made amphitheater.  It’s wild how the colors seem to change depending on the light’s whim and which angle you’re shooting. 


Like many artists, geologists and photographers before and after me, I am awed by the beauty of the natural colorations of the rock from water seepage and different minerals, all creating some utterly lovely abstract paintings like the ones in my pictures above and below:

Most of the “trail” is through the water, fairly deep at times, because there is no bank.  At a little over 5 ft. sometimes the water came up to my chest, and other times I actually swam.   I prepared for that event by bagging everything in my pack though, but that’s the fun of it all!  My thought was that since I’m doing this alone, I’m going to test all my abilities and challenge all my fears! ---go where I have never gone before...or something like that!! haha 


More often than not, however, the water didn’t come up over my knees.  It was really refreshing in 100+ degree heat!!  I didn’t rent canyoneer equipment; I just wore my Merrill trail running shoes and quick-dry clothes that I’d bought for my expedition kayaking trip in Alaska a few years back.  I’d learned in Alaska that water sandals and water socks really don’t cut-it when you’re navigating long distances and rocky, slippery terrain.  I saw someone doing it barefoot!! Yikes!!  What were they thinking?  Ouch!


Here is a view looking straight up.  How cool is that?!

Yes, here’s me swimming again!!!  LOVE those swimming holes! 

Lunch of string cheese, nuts and grapefruit, sitting in the middle of the river (no begging squirrels or chipmunks there!) From here, I watched the boys jump off another big rock into the deep water around me. 


Eventually, I made my way up to Big Springs and ...I think they call it “Wall Street”....prettiest skyscrapers I’ve ever seen!!!  They say the canyon opening at one point here is only 22” apart!

I got to Big Springs, my turn-around point, but I could never get a photo without a group of people blocking the view of the springs!  There were three of them next to each other and really pretty, falling over rocks and maidenhair fern...take my word for it!.  I think you need a pass to go up further than Big Springs, and honestly, I was really tiring out and I still had to go back!  I was starting to feel my age and lack of triathlete body (as much as I tried to deny it!!).  It may have only been 4 miles up the Narrows, but it’s kind of strenuous on the old knees and hips walking and balancing on river rocks.  My left ankle is killing me--must’ve had it buckle on me 8 times on the way back, landing me smack on my rear in the water!  (My old trail running partner would probably shake his head....some things never change!!)  Despite all my whining here,  I would not have missed this for the world!   There’s just nothing like it! 


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