Chad, Kevin, and Armando meet me bright and early on Thursday morning. We load up Armando’s car and head out to Zion National Park and find our site at the Watchman Campground. We inch along the trail’s knife edge through dizzying switchbacks to Angel’s Landing for a panoramic view of the park.
This trip had been planned for months. I had logged on the morning that permitting opened in April and secured Campsite 4 in the Narrows.
It turns out to be perfect conditions. We shuttle up to Chamberlain Ranch, where we walk through cow pastures to enter the gorge. It is cool in the shaded canyon, and we weave in and out of the river’s flow. Hiking sticks prove to be useful. Chad had just gotten his new digital camera, and there is plenty of shooting on this trip.
On the second day in the Narrows, one highlight is the watercress growing along a side tributary, adding fresh vegetables with a peppery taste to the backpacking meals. Near the end, the walls close in, forming a serpentine sliver of sky high above the canyon walls.
The trip back takes us through Las Vegas for a buffet at Rio Casino.