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The Narrows - Gearing Up

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  Introduction
  Arches National Park
      The Great Alcohol Search
      Camp
      Devils Garden - Arches
      Devils Garden - Hiking
  Grand Canyon
      Preparation
      Pre-Hike
      The Plunge
      Bright Angel Campground
      Clear Creek Trail
      The Ascent
      Indian Garden Campground
      Tonto West Hike
      The Great Snake Battle
      The Final Ascent
  The Narrows
      Gearing Up
      The Awakening
      The Hike In
      Pee / Poo
      Camp
      The Hike Out
  Sedona
      Places We Missed
      Meteor Crater
      Airport Mesa
      Thunder Mountain
  Farewell

Monday, September 22, 2008

We went to the Zion Rock and Mountain Guides Outfitters to pickup our gear for the trip. Since most of the 16 mile trail would be walking through a rock-strewn river bed, we decided to rent Neoprene socks and water shoes. The socks would keep our feet warm and the shoes would give us better traction in the water.

All geared up Brendan, probably in his low twenties, was lucky enough to get to assist us. After asking our shoe size, he handed us each a pair of socks similar to the material found in a wet suit. We tugged and pulled, trying to get the socks on our feet.

"Are they supposed to be so tight?"

"They’ll stretch out," he replied. "They’re supposed to fit snug like socks."

Elaine got hers on first. "My toes are right up against the material. Is that okay?"

"Yes. They’re supposed to fit like socks."

Like one of Cinderella’s step-sisters, I finally forced my feet into my socks. "Should they be pressing against my toes?"

"They’ll stretch. They’re supposed to fit like socks."

Next he handed out shoes. We tried them on. With the shoes on, my socks suddenly seemed too big. "Maybe I should try a smaller pair of socks or are we taking up too much of your time."

"I’ll be here all night," Brendan responded way more cheerful than anyone should be in the same situation.

The smaller pair didn’t even fit over my big toe.

"My toe’s right here," Elaine said pointing to the tip of the shoe. "Is that okay?"

"It’s perfect."

Robyne's orthotics made her shoes seem too narrow. "Do you think I could try a bigger size shoe?"

"I’ll be here all night," he said again.

I don't think a helicopter would fit Finally, we were all shod and prancing around the room making sure our feet felt fine. "What happens if we get halfway through The Narrows and our shoes don’t feel good anymore? Would you bring out a different size?"

"Sure. It’s all part of the service."

"So, all we’ll need to do is climb up the canyon wall until we get a cell phone signal, call you, and you’ll hike 8 miles in with a supply of fresh shoes?"

"Or I could take the company helicopter."

We weren’t done yet. Next came the fight over dry bags. Robyne chose a 20 liter bag, large enough to keep her clothes and down sleeping bag moisture-free. I snagged the only 10 liter bag before Elaine got a chance, a perfect size for my sleeping bag. Elaine decided to risk her sleeping bag and protect her clothes in a zip lock bag.

Finally, Brendan helped Robyne and I pick out the right size walking stick. Elaine had brought her own and we realized how indispensable a stick would be in deep rocky water with a strong current.

"The stick should be shoulder high," Brendan instructed us.

All his knowledge and advice about hiking The Narrows impressed us. "You really know your stuff. How many times have you hiked The Narrows?"

"Never. I’ve only been here three weeks."

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