Day 8 was The Narrows day 1. The hike almost ended before it began when we parked in the wrong place and walked up to the wrong bus stop. The shuttle driver called my phone, but I had turned it off and left it in the car given the expectation that it was going to be useless in the Narrows anyway. Luckily, he stuck around long enough to find us and we were on our way. Given that he bothered to wait around for us, and was friendly and informative on our way up to the trail head, I’ll say that this guy was the exception to the previously mentioned rule that the people working at Zion Rock Guides were oafs. It was about an hour and a half drive through twisty bumpy roads to the entry into the Narrows. Once we got there, our driver basically pointed us in the general direction we needed to go and said good luck since there wasn’t much more he could do. We used the bathroom and got ready to head out just as another van, presumably from the other outfitter showed up with eight or so more people.
For some reason, we decided not to cross the river right away and started walking down river. I think there was a two-track on the other side of the river for a while, so that would have been the easier path. We eventually found a place to cross without getting our feet wet. After maybe an hour to an hour and a half of hiking we came to a point where we had to cross again but couldn’t really do so without getting wet. We took this as a sign that it was time to put on the dry-pants and boots that we rented in town. From there on out, it was worth having the dry-pants because the need to cross the river became increasingly frequent. I’m not 100% sure it would have been wise to just start with the dry pants and boots and leave our boots in the car. On one hand, they were extra weight, but on the other, it was nice to have different boots once we got to camp and they were more comfortable for the time we were wearing them for the first hour or so and for the final walk down to the park at the end.
We kind of stuck to hiking along shore when we could, climbing the banks when possible. As we got further and further into the Narrows, this became less and less frequent. We got to the confluence of the ‘other’ river which feeds into the Narrows at about 3:00 in the afternoon and were supposedly a few hours from the camp sites, so we kind of picked up the pace and hurried through the last little bit. We had originally had one of the first sites (#4), but changed it to one of the later ones (#11)at the last minute. With some hurry, we made it to camp in just over an hour, and were plenty early to setup camp and make dinner before sunset.
It got what I would call very cold over night. I had a pair of fabulous down sleeping bags, but some jackhole decided to steal them out of my garage sometime in the last 9 months, so instead we both had our standard ~30-35 degree bags and sleeping pads, which were minimally sufficient. Wearing long underwear, I was still a little chilly while sleeping, not uncomfortably so, but enough that I had no intention of getting up and out of the sleeping bag early the next day. We ended up getting up around 10, just in time to see a few of the other hikers come by while we were making breakfast. The hike out was shorter (maybe 4 hours), and we started seeing people who had hiked up from the other end about an hour before getting there. When we got to the end, we stopped to change out of the waders, sip some coffee and ponder our accomplishment before heading down the little bit of paved trail to the North most bus stop in the park.
We went back into town briefly to drop off the gear around 5:00 — to a shop with nobody around, which was oddly fitting, given their lack of general concern. We left the gear out back and headed out of Zion while it was still light enough to see the winding road leading into the canyon and some of the scenic pull-offs along the way. We headed to Kenab, AZ that night as our base for exploring the Grand Canyon.