Virgin River Narrows
Virgin River, Zion National Park, Utah.
Zion is steeped in Biblical nomenclature. The word itself is Hebrew for sanctuary or refuge. Spanish explorers named the river for the Virgin Mary. The Temples, the Patriarchs, Cathedral, Angel's Landing...all testify to the inspired faithful who got to name this place. The road ends at the Temple of Sinwava, but one of the premier hikes anywhere begins here. The trail ended when the river spread cliff to cliff, and after a shriveling slog through cold water up to my armpits, with my gear in my daypack, gripped over my head, I hoped the desert air would dry me fast as I followed the canyon upriver. The thin blue vault above is surrounded by impossibly high cliffs, selectively sunlit, lighting surrounding cliffs in turn with bounced wavelengths. The colors were brilliant and subtle at once, changing as the sun tracked across the outside world. This is the heart of Zion, the river the life blood in an artery feeding the desert. It is primal and stays that way, the frequent floods scouring out the imprint of man. Here between these narrowing walls, it is hard not to be humbled. The Narrows may not be so-named, but they deserve biblical respect.
This is a vertical stitch of three images, processed in Photoshop and cropped to format.