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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

The Narrows

USA | Sunday, 2 September 2012 | Views [1121]

After sleeping like a rock last night, I was up early. Last night I had a little too much wine but I was up for tea and oatmeal this morning. No rain was on the forecast for today so it's "good to go" for the Narrows today. Several of us were going, and Anna put stuff out so we could make lunches. I made a turkey avocado wrap and stuck a couple of energy bars in my back pocket. Being Labor Day weekend, the park is extremely crowded; it's almost a Disneyland atmosphere with queues for the shuttles. A woman on the bus got angry because some members in our group were talking too much but what do you expect? It's a bus, not a library! At the shuttle's last stop we were at the entrance to the Narrows. The first quarter mile or so is a paved path and at the end of which are squirrels that aren't afraid to crawl on your lap if you have a piece of food in your hand. The Narrows is a unique walk in that half of it you're wading through water.

Many people rent special shoes for the walk but I opted to use my regular shoes; they'll dry out fast enough. The canyon walls are steep-sided and the Virgin River is as wide as the canyon in some stretches. Mr. Hanley and I have had a dispute regarding the difference between a canyon and a gorge, but I think a gorge is generally thought of as having a river or stream running through it. Kings Canyon (Australia) has no river or stream running through it whereas the Narrows and Grand Canyon do, so I see the Narrows as a gorge. Yesterday the Narrows was closed due to a chance of rain, and this is because the river gets a lot higher during flash floods. The full length of the Narrows hike is about 16 miles and can be done in a very long day or over a stretch of two days. Water is chest deep in some stretches and sometimes you have to swim short distances. Most people, however, just do a short section of the trail. The trail and river were inundated with people for the first mile or so but the crowds dispersed dramatically once we came upon a fork in the trail. "Left or right?" I asked myself. The right way wasn't necessarily the correct way but that's the way I went because there's a dramatic waterfall up ahead. The Narrows suddenly got narrower as I was with several other hikers in Orderville Canyon. Whilst earlier I was seeing children in the Narrows, this particular stretch requires some climbing and teamwork and isn't for just anyone. Ropes are required to climb up some of the rocks, and the canyon is only a few feet wide in some places.

A girl from India is a former rock climber and a guy in the same group used to be in the Navy. Many people pull off extraordinary things by physical strength, yet I pull them off with determination and sheer will! About two miles from the fork we came upon a boulder the size of a small house wedged in between the canyon walls! After a tough climb up I got a picture of myself "surfing" on the boulder below the wedged rock.

We all decided this is where we'd turn back. From a huge mob of people at the beginning of the trek, we were down to six people; then I realized Frances didn't make it all this way, and my lunch was in her backpack. One of the guys offered me a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and I at first refused but accepted after finding out they packed a heap of extra food. He also offered me a protein bar but I had a couple of those in my back pocket. Cameraderie is key if you're with others in the wilderness, especially if someone's hurt or if they forget something. Many hikes require teamwork to clear certain areas; a few years ago I was on a five-day walk (the Rees-Dart Track) in New Zealand and there were several areas that required teamwork to clear, and it was virtually essential because the risk of injury can be very high if you attempt these tough areas alone. The waterfall next to the giant rock is a wee bit chilly but a great way to rinse off the sweat or get a hydraulic massage. In our soaked shoes the six of us started heading back, and I was thinking I'd meet up with everyone at the campsite. Some of the areas we had to climb earlier were more risky heading back, as some of them required jumping (carefully). The crowds got larger as we approached the fork, and I noticed there were a lot of Indians (not Native Americans, but Indians) here this weekend. Everyone knows Native Americans are called "Indians" due to the fact Columbus thought he arrived in India in 1492, but I wonder how Native Americans feel about being called "Indian." At the same time it makes me wonder how so many Indians ended up here this weekend. After all there are 7 billion people on the planet and more than 1 billion in India so chances are at least 1 in 7 that a person you meet will be Indian. At the end of the walk it was time to part ways, but not without a photo of those who made it as far as they did.

Frances was at the shuttle stop when we all arrived and she had my lunch waiting for me. "Chris I was worried, you had no food" she cried out but little did she know I was taken care of. When we got to the visitor centre I wanted to have a look at the relief map of the area so I told everyone else to go ahead before I was back at the campsite. As I poked my head out of my tent, a gorgeous lady named Robyn Rae, or "Rae Rae" offered me some delicious chicken salad. Rae Rae is most definitely gorgeous! "The epitome of vivacious women" as I call her; she's beautiful, stunning, and has the perfect figure! Combine that with a radiant smile and personality she's about the perfect girl! I was stuffed, and I couldn't even eat the spaghetti and meatballs that were out for dinner, after a PB&J sandwich, a turkey avocado wrap, and two bowls of chicken salad! There's enough food to feed three times the number of campers. After a couple of cuppas it was time for Taboo! by the campfire. Anna made this rather tasty cocktail tonight, although I didn't drink too much because I didn't feel well last night. What a great place I chose to spend Labor Day weekend! I've been to only 15 states but I've been to some of the more spectacular ones (Utah, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, California, etc.) and I'll definitely go to more! The U.S. is a tough place to travel around; domestic flights are expensive, bus and rail options are limited and hitchhiking is very difficult in many parts of the country. Even if you have your own car distance is a factor, as there are many stretches of 80 or 100 miles of absolutely nothing. Cell phones and programs like AAA alleviate that dramatically but you could still be stranded for several hours in triple-digit heat with limited food or water. Regardless, I'll someday go on my own cross-country odyssey. And even though I disagree with the corrupt (and greedy) American system, I can see why people always say "America the Beautiful" as it's one of the world's most beautiful countries. Tonight I was talking to some of the group about gross Icelandic delicacies (sheeps' head, ram's testicles, dried fish, rotten shark meat), and one girl found it very intriguing. What a fabulous hike through the Narrows it was today! And what a nice evening it was by the campfire. Someday I want to come back and do the entire 16-mile stretch of the Narrows...someday! It'll be a spiritual walk that I'll never forget. Meandering streams, narrow canyons, wet shoes, and good times. I'm ready for more!

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