Narrows River Hike – Zion

Last fall my aunt was very sick in Las Vegas. Another aunt and I were out to visit to help take care of things while she was being treated. Times got very stressful so my aunt suggested I disappear for a couple days and hike the Narrows River at Zion National Park.

So I decided to get some water shoes, borrow my aunts hiking stuff and head out there for an overnight.

The drive to Hurricane Utah wasn’t too bad except it was boring and you have to watch your speed since you frequently pass by small town speed traps along the way.

I was happy to settle down at my sleepy motel.

I started early the next day to give myself time to figure things out. Most importantly I needed a map and to check what the flash flood forecast looks like for the day.

What you are essentially doing is hiking in a river in a canyon. The river can be shallow or deep in many places. I have been told the water can even be over your head in some places so you are essentially swimming.

Lower risk today so all good

I must have picked the perfect day to visit. Little threat of rain and the river level was low. In fact, the worst I had was up to my waist.

Be sure to not bring anything you don’t want destroyed by water and/or have dry bags.

Once you take the long shuttle ride there is about a mile hike to the river.

Jump right in, the water is fine.

The hike can be done in a day (up and back) or multiple days with camping (permit required). I had a guide to how far I could go before I should turn back but I ended up just turning back based on time. I expected to drive back to Las Vegas that evening so I hiked two hours up and two hours back. Not quite sure how far I ended up.

It was amazing experience. The weather was perfect, the river was perfect. I am so glad I got to sneak off to do the hike. If the stars align for you when you are in Zion then do it!

Holocaust Museum in DC

Last winter I took a mini-break to Washington D.C. I have been twice before; once as a teenager and once with friends in 2000. I didn’t remember much so it was time for another visit.

Fortunately a great deal was found at Washington Plaza Hotel. I loved the view of the pool (that was too cold to use) and how close it was to things -> walking or by subway.

A friend who lives in DC recomends the Holocaust Museum. It is fairly new and supposed to be real informative. He did not lie. It was a very powerful exhibit of a dark time in human history.

When you enter the museum you take on a persona but you do not yet know if they are a victim or a survivor. You carry their story with you throughout the exhibit.

I was disappointed to learn how the United States failed the refugees. It is clear we could have done more to help but we didn’t.

Names of those who died are all along the windows.

What was most disturbing is reading how the history was laid out. Hitler and the holocaust didn’t just happen overnight. It happened slowly bit by bit. Little changes that eroded freedoms and livelihood of people. So many times where people could have stood up and say no; but not enough did because they thought there was no way it could get that bad. It is a lesson to all of us. Always stand up for injustices no matter how small people think they are.

Out West 2017! Moab

We only had one day for Utah and I wanted something on the way to Denver so I chose to visit Arches in Moab.

If you ask people who have visited Moab whether Canyonlands or Arches is better the answer will be 1/2 and 1/2 like what happened to me. So I chose one and I was utimately happy with my choice.

We arrived early at Arches National Park and obtained a map. We were up for a hike and there were many trails to take. Ultimately the Devils Garden Trail is selected.

Devils Garden had a rating of both easy and difficult. It appears that the first part of the trail is the easy part and you can turn around if you don’t wish to go on (1.9 mi/3.1 km roundtrip). We chose to go on past that as far as we could (5.1 miles/8.2 km).

Start of Devils Garden Trail
We got to see our first arch

The first part was pretty easy dirt paths that were well defined.

Then we come to the first sign that this isn’t no ordinary trail. All I see is stones that go straight up.

Up those rocks you go

I am officially scared at this point. I have hiked many times but I only have one past rock scrambling experience and that was scary for me to complete (Hiking in Mohonk).

I see people of all ages going up and down that rock; even a guy with a baby on this back. If they can do it then I can do it. I hike up to the top.

Looking back

Once over the first obstacle it continues on with more mini-hurdles to get over until eventually you get the view of more arches.

View from the other side of the arch
narrow passage ways
More obstacles for me to get up and over

We went over these rock formations that I can only describe as “trust the process” rocks. There are a few cairns but cairns don’t tell you that there is not a quick drop at the other end of the rock formation. You must trust the process and just move forward. There is always a (semi-safe) way down.

And finally the “dong” photo. It is actually called Dark Angel.

Yes I am a 40 something woman with the humor of a 12 year old boy

Shortly after the big rock it was time to go back. There was a “primitive trail” to go back but I figured the regular trail was enough work so I went back the way I came. Those rocks were much easier now that I knew what to expect. It was a lovely day at Arches. I feel like wonder woman now! I recommend a visit.