Don’t give yourself enough time:
On vacation it always feels like I’m trying to do 100 things in the 24-hour spectrum of one day. Traveling has always been in small pockets for me and in certain instances I bite off more than I can chew. Most of the times it works out perfectly without a hitch and ever so often it doesn’t. In this particular case in a trip to Vegas I squeezed in Zion as it’s been on the bucket list forever. Then I also saw that Page, Arizona was close by and squashed it in also. That left my itinerary for Zion looking something like wake up at 6am, hike for 6 or so hours, get out of Springdale and drive to Vegas and then catch a show on the Saturday night! Essentially we did all that, only having to sacrifice the length of time we spent in the Narrows
Don’t remember that there are always foils in the best-laid plans:
I try to have a general idea of what I’m doing. I hate when people make planning seem like organized fun. It’s not. It’s an itinerary, a guideline, we’re free to fall off it or change course if we want but at least we came prepared. That’s the thing, you can never be 100% prepared. Their is always gonna be that thing you didn’t know or didn’t account for. It’s God smiling at us, throwing us a loophole or a wrinkle if you may. It’s what makes adventure all the more fun.
In this particular case I had found out that you could grab Zion rental gear (some pants, shoes, socks and a mop stick they’re pretending is a hiking stick) the night before so you can save time on the morning of your hike. This would definitely be the most efficient way to get everything done based on the tight itinerary. But I had also wanted to catch Horseshoe Bend at sunset and Zion was about two hours away. I know what you’re prolly thinking, this guy is so greedy! And truthfully sometimes I am. They always say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But if I have the cake why wouldn’t I want to eat it…Too? I mean cakes are made for eating. Anyways that’s another story! With the distance between Page, Arizona and Springdale, Utah being a little over two hours I figured I could catch the sunset and still get to Springdale before the rental closes at 8pm. Now mind you, I realize this left little cushion (for say things like traffic) but being able to catch a sunset at Horseshoe Bend was worth the risk and I’m a gambling man.
Now for the wrinkle! Springdale is one hour ahead in time from Page. I don’t know how I missed that! I’m sure I googled time in Vegas and Page and they were the same! And Springdale is somewhere in between, so the assumption is obviously it’s on the same time zone. But it isn’t! At horseshoe bend we decided to check and when we found out it wasn’t I was wondering what kind of sorcery is at work! Do the time zones bend like how the earth is round? Shrugs shoulders, I’m not a time zone wizard, I depend on google! The explanation we seemed to find is that even though Arizona and Utah are in the same time zone, Arizona doesn’t comply with that time zone or daylight savings time or whatever it is, so basically they’re flying by their own rules! Good thing we didn’t rush off and break our necks to get to Springdale cause the store woulda been closed! Point being, there’s usually something you’re forgetting to factor in.
Don’t give yourself enough time:
I mention this again! Simply because in other ways not giving ourselves enough time was the catalyst for not reaching far enough, not solely from a ‘half day is not enough’ but more importantly from a rushing perspective. You see, with trying to fit everything into such a small space it meant wearing our bodies down. We were constantly on the move. Straight off of two flights for the day and then heading to Page which is four hours from Vegas. As a side note, when driving to Page at 1am-ish watch out for rabbits on the highway. They go out their way to fulfill some kind of suicide wish, trying to rope you into their plans. Apparently deer too as well ,per all the signs, but the truth is I only saw rabbits even though they definitely had these deer in the headlights looks before I would slightly swerve to miss em. Again getting back on track the point was that we were wearing our bodies down with the constant rushing.
After we got to Zion late and missing the rental agency we decided we would wake up in time to catch it’s opening and be out in the Narrows as early as possible. The problem was that being sick meant NOT waking up on time and worse, moving slow for everything. Renting gear takes time. Shuttling from the welcome center to the start (temple of Sinawava) takes time. All in all we were probably at the start three hours after we had hoped to be.
Don’t be prepared:
So I knew beforehand unless we were serious hikers we wouldn’t have the gear to do this so our option was rent. I just figured the company would rent everything we need, so when I pulled up in Jeans they looked at me funny. Even though I’m renting relatively dry pants Water does seep in and denim/cotton are NOT the best material to wear under. I had to spend five dollars to rent fleece underpants. And it’s only five dollars, but I prefer not to spend a dollar over what is necessary. Especially for an easily correctable mistake! When we finally got the Narrows and took our first steps the cold water started seeping into my pants. Inside I started to freak a little, is the water penetration suppose to be this quick. I don’t know! But it wasn’t just me so we kept on. Truthfully the water is cold, but it’s not unbearable. I don’t know how much of that had to do with the actual temperature or the gear we were wearing. I’ll never know, as I’m not one to test life or death situations. They were one or two people hiking in just shorts but they probably live in Antarctica and think the water is just lukewarm. This is me from Jamaica and I signed up to live.
One more thing, please make sure to check if your gear is comfortable. I mean it isn’t, these aren’t regular clothes for a reason so I guess they wouldn’t be. But towards the end of our hike the neoprene socks seemed like they were sucking the life right out of me. Every step was painful. Or maybe it was the shoes, or the way the pants gripped the socks. Any which way it had become almost unbearable, so when you’re at the agency try to find the most comfortable fit for the Long haul.
Don’t NOT do it!
For everything I’ve written I realize I really haven’t given much insight into the hike itself. It’s breathtaking, it really is. If you get a chance, even for the limited time we had then do it! But then I’m always encouraging people to get out and do more. On our time crunch every time we rounded a corner we asked how far it was to Wall Street. That was the Mecca. That’s where I wanted to go! But the answer was always ‘oh about an hour’ which wouldn’t be so long if we weren’t 1. Hiking in water and 2. Almost out of time. A slight drizzle started to fall, which was nothing, but they don’t fail every chance they get to warn about flash floods and impending doom. The last thing I wanted to see was any damn raindrop. But mama didn’t raise no quitter! And so we trudged on left foot right foot. And when we reached the 3-mile mark sure enough the passage narrowed and we were in Wall Street, or so I believed as there isn’t any definitive indicators. What we were really hoping for was to make it to a huge floating rock in the middle of Wall Street but when we asked again the answer was ‘another hour or so’. At that point the clock had run out on us and we decided to turn around and head back in. And although we never got to complete what we had wanted of the Narrows it gave me a pretty good idea of how NOT to do it so I could help everyone else fulfill their Zion dreams. I mean that’s what I really wanted to accomplish. Read that last line with the intended sarcasm attached.