VIRGIN RIVER "NARROWS" CHECKOUT
Our group was composed mostly of seasoned hikers in their twenties and thirties. There were nine males and four females. Most of the hikers had taken other back country hikes in the Park through my backpacking mountaineering courses sponsored by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
We started the hike from the register box located just east of Chamberlain's Ranch at 10:00 Saturday June 5. The register indicated that a couple of hikers had hiked down to the Deep Creek confluence and returned to Chamberlain's in May. Also, a large sign next to the register states that the "Narrows" hike is closed. We observed one of the Chamberlain's irrigating the pasture below his house.
At noon, almost a mile below Bullock's cabin, I initiated temperature readings. A Taylor bulb thermometer was used to take the measurements. Three to four samples were taken, at each measurement point to reduce error. The thermometer was submerged vertically at the point where the water was moving rapidly to a depth of 8-10 inches. The readings are included in the attached table and chart. One problem in the data which I am unable to explain is the averaged temperature taken below the Deep Creek confluence and the separate readings taken for Deep Creek and North Fork. The North Fork measurement read six degrees higher than Deep Creek which can be explained by the fact that Deep Creek runs in deeper canyons protected from the sun and that the North Fork is more exposed, receiving irrigation runoff. However, since Deep Creek appeared to be twice the volume of the North Fork, one would think the resultant temperature taken below the confluence would be 60 deg- rather than 62deg. Perhaps the colder water ran deeper and the change was not registered by the surface measurements.
The trip from Chamberlain's Ranch to the Deep Creek confluence was more difficult than usual due to the large amount of mud on the creek banks. This seemed to be the largest amount in the past several years. It should dry out in the next couple of weeks and will probably be washed out by a good rain. The temperature of the water for this portion of the hike was comfortable and most of the hikers preferred walking through the water rather than on the mudbanks. The water was very murky and consequently, we had to stop occasionally to permit some of the hikers to remove sand from their shoes and socks. The waterfall in the North Fork remains the same height as last year. The decayed carcass of a small deer was located in the creekbed about a half mile before the Deep Creek confluence. There was hardly any litter found on this portion of the trip.
When we reached Deep Creek, the water was very clear and colder than the North Fork. The water was considerably clearer below the con- fluence and helped the hikers see where to place their feet on the rocky bottom. The mud conditions found up the North Fork did not exist below the Deep Creek confluence. There was a fresh set of tracks of a person who had hiked up the "Narrows" to the confluence and back. Kolob Creek was dry and it can be assumed that the water is being used to raise the reservoir level. Had it been flowing its normal amount, it might have made the lower part of the trip more difficult. The lower part of the hike was basically free of litter except for the Grotto campsite. There were several cans and waste in the area; we carried some of it out.
Sunday morning we found the water to be cold (52°F) and we walked hurriedly down to Big Spring which took about an hour. None of the group really objected, but it was good that it was a nice warm day as the weather station had forecast. Most of the hikers were in short sleeved shirts and short pants and did not require additional clothing even though they carried it.
A small buck deer stayed ahead of us from the Big Spring area until we reached the trail. We met two females above Orderville about 25 to 30 years of age who had hiked up from the trail. They said they had to swim in a couple of places prior to meeting us. They were referring to the log jam and the large rock area within a half mile above Orderville. We avoided the pools and none in the entire party got wet above the hips during the entire hike. Use of the aluminum hiking staffs was a major assist in probing deep areas and provided essential support for stream crossings where the current was swift.
All in all, we had an excellent hike and enjoyed seeing the spring wildflowers. I feel that the "Narrows" hike is safe to take at this time, provided one has the proper equipment and takes the necessary precautions. All of the group said they enjoyed the hike and some even indicated that it was the best hike of the Park. None said that the water temperature or depth was a hardship.
Thank you for giving us permission to check out the "Narrows" in making our first trip of the season and I hope this report of our trip will be of assistance.
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