top of page

My hike at the narrows turned into a rescue mission.

Please note: you most definitely will get wet when you hike The Narrows.


Trekking into The Narrows with hiking boots, walking sticks and my backpack surrounded by towering canyons really does make me feel like the main character of some adventure movie. But this isn't some movie set with stunt doubles…it's a National Park with real dangers that visitors can't underestimate no matter how big or small. The day before my dad and I set out to hike The Narrows, a 26-year-old girl unfortunately died while canyoneering alone and fell more than 50 feet. If you don't know The Narrows at Zion National Park in Utah, it's quite literally a hike through a river. In certain areas, the water can come all the way up to your chin. Rocks are slippery, you'll lose your balance but the rush of it all feels so f*cking good. I'm an adventure junkie and I bring my 71-year-old dad along for the ride. Before you get to the water, there's a mile hike down on land. As my dad and I started our trek in matching bucket hats, a woman frantically stopped only us out of an entire crowd of visitors. “Have you hiked this before?” she asked us, with her two young children standing behind her. Holding back tears, she told us that her husband about a mile into the river broke his ankle and she left him on the rocks to hike back for help. It's been hours and she wanted us to relay the message that help is on the way and to make sure that he's okay.


There is no cell phone service at The Narrows.


As we're walking with a bit more pep in our step, I kept asking myself why she stopped us? She trusted us in that moment where she was trying really hard not to freak the f*ck out. Like most National Parks, cell service can be a rarity. Pro tip: put your phone on airplane mode so the battery doesn't go dead.

If you hike the narrows come over-prepared.

For the entire road trip, I haven't seen my dad move so quick.


Zion was one of the last stops on our road trip, and damn I haven't seen my dad move so freaking fast. We didn't have to care about this guy at all. Sure, he'll be saved eventually, but we did care. I would want someone to do that for me. This woman put blind trust in us, and maybe she was impressed by our fancy walking sticks but she picked out the right guys for the job.


Don't underestimate how much or little you can help someone.


We were sent to relay a message that help is on the way – essentially to reassure this man who has no idea who we are to be patient just a little while longer. When you're helpless laying on rocks along the water for hours, one minute can feel like an eternity. So while our message might not seem like a lot, for him to know all that's been going on behind the scenes is everything.


We gotta have each other's backs.


I know negative headlines dominate the internet, but there's still so much good out in the world. Posted up on the rocks with his head on an inflatable pillow, leg elevated on towels, extra water bottles, snacks and more, we found our guy. “Damn, at least you came prepared,” I said to him. He replied that everything he had was from hikers along the way – all willing to give him whatever he needed to be comfortable…to be in a little less pain. He appreciated our message, and we waited with him until a rescue crew of 10 in neon yellow jackets appeared. Securing him on a gurney, they rafted him up the river and back to his family. Smiling, he mentioned it was their first full day of their weeklong road trip… I'll leave you with a picture of my dad feeling accomplished afterwards before we continued to hike The Narrows:

Those young and old can hike the narrows.

Be good,

JB

PS. Sign up to the best newsletter for weekly honest travel tips. Also, make sure to forward it to a friend and add me to your address book so I don’t land in your spam folder.

bottom of page