I say the same thing about dreaming that I do about learning. When you stop, you start to die. Dreams are so essential in life and seeing the fulfillment of our dreams, fuels us to dream more, to dream bigger and to plan out those dreams.
In June of 2016 I had the opportunity to fulfill a twenty-year dream! It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but I would do it again, many times over. Why? It was also the most rewarding!
Watching a documentary on the National Park system in the United States, I saw Zion for the first time. I was smitten and wanted to go. I wanted to see those majestic cliffs rising above the Virgin River. Walk with me now. I will take you into The Narrows and tell you what my walk there taught me.
Mind you, this was not a leisurely stroll, a wade in the river, but a difficult hike. That said, it was worth every step, even those steps at the end. Looking back at the fatigue at the end of the hike and remembering the difficulty of lifting my feet high enough to navigate the rocks in the riverbed I would still do it all over again.
Michael and I arrived at Zion National Park the afternoon of June 19, 2016. We had to drive through the park to get to our hotel. As Michael drove, I looked around in awe! I had made it to Zion! The next morning, I would walk The Narrows!
Morning found me up before the sun. I enjoyed my usual quiet time in prayer, devotion and reading my Bible. I noticed my asthma had started to act up a bit due to the elevation. Still, determination filled me as the completion of my dream loomed so close! I prayed for energy and stamina for Michael and myself.
I finished getting ready, putting on the rented neoprene socks and hiking boots. (Don’t worry the rental shop properly sanitized them each time when returned.) I packed our dry pack, and then we were off! I wanted to get in the park and down to The Narrows before the larger crowds showed up.
To get to the trail head down to the river, we had to take a bus. After a quick bathroom break (no more bathrooms after this point), we headed out on foot.
The walk to the river was not bad. The park service had built a concrete sidewalk that wound down a mountain. The sidewalk had switch backs and curves all gradually going downhill. This provided for a nice stroll down into the canyon. I did not even think at that time about the walk coming out. When you go downhill, you must eventually go back up hill to get to your starting point.
My first view of the river and the start of The Narrows overwhelmed me. I felt like a child and wanted to jump up and down and shout, “We made it!” Instead, Michael and I walked across a little beach and right into the Virgin River, then turned to walk The Narrows.
Imagine air temperatures in the low to mid 60’s, with the water temperatures about the same. Stepping into the water took my breath away! But I plunged on.
I won’t sugar coat the walk. It was tough…really tough. I was one week shy of my fifty-eighth birthday. Add to that the fact I was overweight, out of shape and not sure footed. We had to walk in the water against the current heading upriver. To add to this, the riverbed consisted of mostly rock, not tiny rocks, but big rocks, big enough to step and stand on.
When renting the shoes and socks, we had also rented walking sticks. They came in very handy. Walking went something like this... make sure right foot was stable and walking stick firmly planted on riverbed, pick left foot up, place left foot tentatively on rock, test rock before placing foot solidly on rock, pick up walking stick and move it forward, then pick up right foot and repeat.
The dry ground was also covered with rocks. At times you could pick your way around, but at other times you would have to step onto them also.
I had met my goal of walking in The Narrows, now what? Walk a few minutes and turn around and go back? I had reached the river. I had walked in The Narrows! Now was a good time to say goal met, and on to the next!
However, that is not what happened…
Continued on 3/2/22.