Zion Narrows and Left Fork hikes (‏ ( 11/2009

As winter approaching fast,  last trees in lower elevations started to shed their leaves. My mind had been craving for fall beauty and fishing for opportunity since beginning of  official fall season in mid September. After wading through many near cancellations, my trip started on Nov 1st, Sunday morning to Zion. Its about 700 mile, 12 hours drive to Springdale, Utah. I hardly had anytime to plan and prepare for this trip. But anyway, I had been dreaming to hike Narrows and Subway in Zion from long time.  So I set off with a hope of doing those two hikes.

Narrows hiking can be done in three ways. One way is to hike up entire 13 miles from Gateway and have someone pick you from other end at Chamberlain’s Ranch. Second way is to hike back 13  miles next day. Both these hikes need permits. Third way is to start from Gateway and hike 3 miles to Ordervile junction and return. 65% of the hike involves river wading. once in while you will find dry place to walk. At this time of the year water level is just 2 to 3 feet and no risk of flash floods. But water is darn cold; about 40 to 45 degrees fahrenheit.  Neoprene socks, some under armors (for cold), dry pants, dry backpack, river wading shoes,  pair of trekking poles are required for this hike. Fortunately, I have all of them. Neoprene socks make you comfortable by not absorbing water much. But you can not avoid your feet  touching cold water. my feet were numb after 1/2 mile hike and after a week, some parts of my feet still numb. I could not cross Ordervile junction. There is a small pool where water level reached  to neck and could not climb up the ditch. Water level in main stream was also high and do not have  dry suite for upper body. More over it was 4PM, so I withdrew from ordervile. But 8 1/2 hours I  spent in narrows are life time memorable. Every turn of virgin river offer a new surprise. I
highly recommend this hike. Hike is every easy with two trekking poles. Water is very welcoming in summer. But need to check with ranger about flash flood warnings.

Here are some images from Narrows

Spellbinding Narrows

Narrows

Narrows

Narrows

Next day I went to Subway. Subway is a  very small slot canyon. North creek carved it as a tunnel. Subway is located on back country trail left fork. Its strenuous 9 miles round trip hike, involving 450ft  descend at the beginning, trail finding, boulder crossings. Since its back country trail, hikers need permits. Only 40 permits are issued per day, which will be gone in no time in summer. But in November, including me only 6 people showed up that day. Even though it seems  strenuous, an average hiker can easily do this hike. But please remember to start back early, no later than 3PM in fall. I stayed for fellow photographer and started hiking back at 4:45PM. We were half way back and the day light was gone. Luckily we have GPS and trail was recorded while coming in, so we did not find it hard while even is the dark. I always carry head lights. This trail is beautiful every yard.

Here  are some images from this hike

Subway of North Creek

Subway of North Creek

The Crack

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls

Sadly, I  had to cut short my trip and return immediately. I started driving back on Wednesday
itself. Two days driving and two days of hiking; still not a bad deal. 🙂

Happy clicking
-Swamy

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