Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on Kodachromes. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the Kodachromes haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. This is one of those.
In July 1991, we, along with our friends John and Donna, obtained a wilderness permit to backpack the 16 miles of the Virgin River between Chamberlain’s Ranch and the Temple of Sinawava in Zion National Park. Other than some concern about river flow (it needed to be below 120 cubic feet per second and it was), I don’t recall any difficulty getting that permit and we definitely didn’t need a campsite reservation like you do today. We just set-up a shuttle between the Ranch and our campsite at South Campground (you could still drive into the inner park then) and off we went. Deep in the gorge, we camped at what is today Campsite #12 (High Camp) across from Big Springs. The information we had at the time said you could wear light hikers for the trip – since your feet would be wet all the time – but only The LovedOne took that (bad) advice. The rest of us wore our regular hiking boots and were fine, while The LovedOne’s feet were so bruised and sore from stumbling through the rocks on the river bottom without adequate protection that she had to sit-out our later scramble of South Guardian Angel. During the two days we were in the gorge, we saw just two other people (who were doing The Narrows as a dayhike and deeply regretting that decision). It was thus quite a shock to enter the slack water where the paved Riverside Walk reaches the river and confront 100 or so people wading, splashing, swimming, and generally fooling around in the water! I guess it’s the same way today. And I’m also guessing that those wilderness and campsite permits are a lot harder to get these days.