While we found Utah to be absolutely gorgeous the moment we passed over the state borders from Nevada, our trip to Utah didn’t start out too well.
I got pulled over by a Utah Highway Patrol officer around 10 pm after leaving Nevada (note to California residents: Utah police cars are NOT Crown Victoria Cali cop cars. I tried to observe all the car lights in my side mirrors to weed out potential patrol members but I was foiled! Plus they are WHITE). On top of that, we tried to camp at some place (not to be named) that was COMPLETELY deserted. I mean, not a soul was in the campground. I was spooked, so we drove around and eventually settled on crashing an RV park an hour outside of Zion National Park (not meant for tents, but we were a bit desperate at this point).
As we put up our tent next to our car, a guy in the RV next to us offered to “help us out” (he kept saying that over and over again). Was he just a really nice Mormon man, or a bit of a creeper? Can’t really say. Neither of us slept much that night because we were afraid that he was going to come by our tent and stare at us as we slept. We left quickly at 6 am to get on the road to Zion NP and get out of that place!
Zion was even more awesome than I remembered. I went there once with my family back when all we did was go camping for family trips. I used to complain to them, “Why do we have to go on all these hick family vacations?!”. I wanted to go to Mexico and Europe like the other kids. But now I”m extremely grateful, and camping has become one of the main loves of my life.
We got to the park around 10 am and, after a short visit to the visitor center and setting up our tent at the South campground (no reservations, first come first served), we took the Zion shuttle down to the beginning of the Narrows – a 16 mile river hike through a tall, stunning canyon (with backpacker camp sites about 9 miles from the other trailhead). We got out of the shuttle and immediately started down the walk, and then up the river – past families with babies and children, past grandparents and even some backpackers that were coming out from an overnight in the canyon. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was hotter than hell, the sun was shinning, and we were hiking / swimming / jumping all around a river cany0n hike.
Lunchtime meant stopping on the side of the river up on the rocks to eat our backpacking lunch (meat. cheese, and bread).
At one point, you have a choice of going two ways – on the left you can continue on with the Narrows (for about 14 miles), or you can head to the right to another river slot canyon. A European woman who barely spoke English told us that there were “waterfalls” at the hike on the right, so we went to the right. It ended up involving a lot of climbing, and no we didn’t find a big waterfall, but we did enjoy a series of cascades along the way.
Next on the bucket list: backpacking the Narrows (starting from the other end). ALL hikes should be level and through water! So amazing.