wandering up the icy narrows

On the 20th of December Dennis and I headed in to Zion to hike up the narrows. Since it was well below freezing we rented a dry suit for Dennis, who was questioning his sanity. Since I’d done this before I was a little more sanguine about our mental health. Anyhow, questions of our mental well being aside, we drove to the narrows parking lot and layered up. For those who don’t know, a dry suit goes over your regular clothing and has tight rubber gussets at the ankles, arms, and neck, which keep water from getting in. So essentially we just dressed as though we were going for a winter hike and put the drysuit over that. Our feet and hands were more exposed to the elements so we put 2 layers of neoprene socks on under canyoneering boots and had neoprene gloves on as well. Dry bags for the cameras completed the ensemble. I’ve included one very fuzzy picture of Dennis in the suit so you can see what we looked like. Once bundled up we headed up the trail to the narrows and splashed on in. It was never deeper then waist deep, and was not terribly cold either, so it would have been a perfect day if the sun had cooperated. Unfortunately, however, it was cloudy all day so all we got were grey, low, light unsaturated shots. Nice for portraits perhaps, but not so great for landscape pictures. We made do as well as we could and headed up to the confluence of Orderville Canyon with the Virgin, and then walked up Orderville a little way. Since the light was starting to wane, we headed back down the canyon. Reaching the cars we unlayered once again, with Dennis expressing his amazement with how well the dry suits worked. He was now in the correct frame of mind for Keyhole Canyon on the next day, where we would actually be swimming in the icy water. More on that tomorrow.

Zion Narrows

By the way, if you check out that speck at the very bottom of this next picture, that is Dennis for a sense of scale:

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