We had been hiking for at least an hour, following the Virgin River through The Narrows, one of the dreamiest spots inside Zion National Park. Where there was sun, when the canyon walls allowed to come through, it was toasty. But, we were already soaked up to our waists – at least those of us who are shorter than five feet.
I could see it in his eyes, as he looked back at me after peering over the edge of the boulder we had scaled – about 10 to 12 feet above the water, which appeared turquoise at that spot.
“If you take your shirt off, you can jump.”
We were there. We wouldn’t be there much longer. And this was the only spot we’d seen that was deep enough for a plunge – knowing so because a couple adults had jumped right before we climbed the boulder.
I mean, why not? We were already soaked. The Narrows, which winds through towering canyon walls, is not an ankle-deep hike. It’s a waist-deep one, and it can be a full-on swim if you want it to be. Each kid was equipped with their own daypacks and a pair of sneakers they wear for mud runs – with grips and laces. And we had spent the last few miles weaving back and forth across the river, because that’s the only way to hike it.
So one by one, they realized they had permission. And one by one, they ditched their packs and scaled that boulder again – and jumped in, their eyes enormous as they surfaced and realize how cold it was once they were fully submerged.
And then they asked if they could do it again. Because, it was that good. Our only rule was they at they wait for us to get in position to get a few photos of the whole thing. These were the moments we wanted. The ones where they – in a few months, and a few years, and maybe in a lot of years – say “Remember when we jumped in The Narrows?”
That’s why I’m so glad that the only reluctant one, the littlest, dropped her gear as we were about to leave to make sure she gave it a try – despite being the wettest and coldest of the bunch. How wet you get in The Narrows is directly related to your height, so if you’re short, you’re soggier.
But she didn’t want to miss out on the memory. So she jumped. Twice, just to be sure.