carocali (carocali) wrote,

Baptism in the waters

Sorry! I'm so far behind.  We actually end our journey tomorrow, and I'm still working on the entries.  We just simply ran out of time.

Here is the start of our trip in Zion.  I've uploaded some of the pictures.  Since I can't figure out how to do this from the road, I changed my password at to route89.  My sign on is carocali.  Please just look; dont touch.  I'll try and get them all figured out when I get home, but I wanted you to at least see some of what we're doing..

Again, thanks for all the lovely comments.

Caroline and Kathy



October 9, 2007


The morning came quickly, but we didn’t have a clue as sunlight was blocked from our windows.  These monsters are actually huge at Zion National Park, stunning rocks of reds and oranges, depending on which way the sun shines and how many clouds are in the sky.  They are much less intimidating in the sun, even though they still can block the light from getting near you.


We stopped at the front desk because housekeeping came to see us around 11 a.m. to check us out of our cabin.  The man the night before had assured us two nights, so we were now a little worried that our charismatic little cabin would be stripped away.


Sure enough, the lodge was sold out, even though I was promised on the phone that our reservation had been moved a night, and the man the night previous had put it into the system as such.  At times like these, it’s best to let Kathy take over – so I did.  She told Kitty (the front desk clerk) that we were going for a hike and that they’d better have figured it out for us by our return.


The Zion bus tours around the park – there are no cars allowed past the lodge – so we hopped the first one that came through and made our way to the end of the line, seeing several areas of observation along the way; one of those being Angel’s Landing.  We’d talked with several people about this ‘hike’ and our goal was to climb this 5700+ foot mountain unless I completely chickened out.  Everyone said it had the most amazing views of the park, so I figured I’d get some peer pressure to make it all the way up. 


We continued on to the Temple of Sinawava and the Riverside Walk which led to the Narrows – a walk through the canyon basin that’s taken through the Virgin River. The small stream glides along the foundation of the small mountains, helping nourish the foliage of varying degrees, some of which hang from the rocks.  The further we got along the mile trail, the more people we saw coming back with smiles on their faces, clothing dripping from their baptism in the waters. 


There were many photo opportunities along the walk as mounds of rock jutted to the sky to envelop the sun with their deep orange and brown faces.  Each formation has a different characteristic, and every turn brings something new to life.  The massiveness of each rock has its own story of how it was created.  Erosion from water and time gives them scars of their battles with the elements.  Slices on their faces have pulled slag to the ground, making rock and sand debris along the trails.


As the sun makes its way around the Earth, the colors in the masses shift to pull in her warmth.  One moment the rock is dull and grayish, the next with the light from the sky, the face is orange and on fire.  You can sit and watch the same mounds for hours as they change from second to second.  The breaks from attrition become shadows and then fill with radiance.  I know we keep using this phrase, but we’ve never seen anything like it.


The end of the walk approached and the rocks and sand held people clad in everything from sandals to waders.  Some dipped their toes in the gentle brook; others jumped right in and gave it a shot.  It’s not like being on the beach; it’s an actual hike through the park. 


We ventured out onto the dry rocks and saw what we could of the stream.  Long sticks held the citizens from falling into the water as the current was deceiving and swift.  Those coming out spoke of the beauty of the canyon ahead.  The whole hike is really sixteen miles, but the true narrowing of the canyon begins around mile three where the rocks become slick with algae and the walk more dangerous.  After watching for a while, we decided to come back and give it a try once we knew our room situation had been settled.


The little trolley took us back the way we came to the lodge.  I snapped several pictures of the rocks along the way, hoping to catch a glimpse of Angel’s Landing.  There was confusion about which rock it was, and we were trying to get a better idea of what we were up against.  All the formations were so massive, I wasn’t sure if I would really be able to follow through on my promise to Kathy.


We sauntered back into the lodge figuring we’d have to pack up and ship out.  The lodge is always sold out, so we were waiting for a miracle to come through.  We walked in to find a smiling Kitty whose manager was able to miraculously find us a room – but not a cabin.  We agreed and removed our items from our little cabin.  The new room had a nice balcony, so all in all, it worked out just fine.  That disaster averted, we put on our matching maroon Keen sandals and readied ourselves for the Narrows.


Our steps were determined as we made our way to the watery hike.  More happy people returned from their visit through the stream and we smiled in anticipation of our own journey. Finally, we came upon the entry spot and watched as an older couple came out.  They’d been in the Narrows since 10 a.m. (it was now around 3ish), touting of the beauty of the hike.  Now we were more determined than ever to get going and see the mysteries around the first bend of the river.


Then we stepped foot in the water.


Oh my God!  It was so cold.  Kathy and I looked at each other and we could see the debate in each other’s eyes.  The couple could see it as well.  “Don’t worry, you just lose the feeling in your feet and you get used to it.”  We both laughed at how easily the directions slid off their tongues.  But thousands upon thousands of people do this each year.  If they could do it, so could we!


So in we went, bitching and shivering all the way, but the couple was right!  Once you got used to the fact that the 50 degree water was slowly taking the circulation and feeling from your feet, it’s really not a big deal.  Then, the chill slowly creeps up your legs as you venture further into the stream.  First, it’s just your ankles, and you giggle as the water splashes up your leg at the rushing water, then it gets deeper and you’re navigating rocks that you can’t see.  Before you know it, the bottom of your Capri pants have a little more than drips of moisture on them. 


The rock climbs to the sky above as you take a breath along with a step, seeing the hidden beauty of the inside walls.  The water doesn’t slow for your pace.  You either heed its will or get out of the way.  Small falls rush over the intrusive rocks and the current is rapid as it heads downstream.  It’s not too deep, but the pull is definitely there as you have to cross further upstream to continue the hike.  The whole thing seems a bit of a novelty, but then you look around and see why you are truly there.


The canyon walls are filled with dazzling colors that the sun barely touches.  Up top, the bright orange smiles down from above, but as the rock makes its way closer to the stream, it dulls in grays and browns.  In spots, the walls ‘weep’ the rain and snow that’s been held like a sponge in the slated rock.  The moisture in the walls keeps the hanging flora alive as it finds its own place in this strange land of caverns.  Every slow turn down the tributary holds a new mystery.


We continued down the way, resulting in the water gaining on our height.  Finding the quickest and easiest path over the rocky currents proved to be a challenge, and both Kathy and I had close calls.  There was a bin of walking sticks for use along the shoreline before entry to the river, and thank God we had the sense to each grab one.  I would’ve been on my rear in no time if I didn’t have that third leg.  The current is swift in points, so that extra assistance for balance is a life-saver; especially for a klutz like me.


We laughed one second at the obscurity of what we were doing and were stunned the next as site after site unveiled itself.  Trees sprung from nowhere and inhabited the banks and cliffs.  Sandy shores appeared as safe havens along the side and we quickly used their solidity to gain ground on the path, dreading the moment when the icy waters would once again envelop our feet.


Small waterfalls appeared from nowhere, racing down the sculpted rocks, adding even more anonymity than we thought possible in this park.  Next to the falls, more shrubbery and trees grew in harmony with the environment as the majesty of the towering mounds watched over them.  Below, the river kept its course, touching all those that walk in its waters.


The orange canvas held painted designs of black and white streaks, and the porous rock seeped water.  At one turn, the water’s reflection was a deep platinum, but around the corner, it greedily gathered the sunlight and shone like a beacon from above.  It shimmered with the sun, making it look like the wall was made of pure gold.


The sky was growing dark, and we didn’t want to get stuck in the water already at a disadvantage, so we headed back out and onto dry land.  We were assaulted by people who did not enter the canyon wanting to hear all about the mysteries within.  We extolled our tales in detail, making them wish they’d taken the time to make the journey.


Kathy and I agree, it was the most beautiful and the most unusual thing that we’ve ever done.  We only got a glimpse of what was in the canyon, but what was there was astounding.  And as an added gift, we stood and watched three deer feasting on the sagebrush along the river as we made our way back with huge smiles on our faces from our own baptism in the waters.


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