It’s now the next day, August 11. On my agenda: the Narrows Rim Trail. The Narrows is not a narrow gap through sandstone bluffs, but instead it’s an area were the flat border between the bluffs and the lava beds is narrow.
In most places, the eroding sandstone has put a layer of sand over the lava on the edge or the lava didn’t extend all the way to the sandstone bluffs. But at the Narrows, it comes right up to the edge.
And it makes for a spectacular hike.
Here’s my overview map of the trail. The starting point is a picnic area on the south end. The trail heads north and ends with a view across an inlet of a sandstone arch called “La Ventana” (The Window).
On my map, it shows the trail at the north heading down into that inlet, but no contemporary map shows that—that path only shows up on Google Maps (and who knows where they grabbed it from). So I only expected to be able to get to the northern tip, and maybe a bit beyond.
Shortly after leaving the parking lot, the top of the bluff slopes up. In fact, the whole bluff gets higher and higher the farther north you go. Here’s the first promontory as you start.
I found I didn’t have to worry to much about cactus burrs. A lot of the trail was rock, and there weren’t many burrs even when the path was pure sand.
As always out west, the trail was nicely marked with stone cairns.
Getting a bit higher, there was a nice view back to the picnic area and parking lot.
Here I am on one of the overlooks looking at the northernmost promontory.
You might like a close-up of those flowers at my feet. It looks to me as if it’s actually created some seeds.
OK, I lied about seeing the northernmost promontory.
You know about False Summit Syndrome? As you hike up a peak, you keep thinking you’re approaching the summit. But then when you finally make it to the top of what you see and hope to take a well-deserved rest, nope, it’s not the peak. False Summit Syndrome.
On the Narrows Rim Trail, I kept suffering from False Promontory Syndrome. The trail was pretty level, so that wasn’t a problem. It’s just that I kept seeing yet another promontory and thinking I was at the end.
I did finally find the end. Here’s La Ventana from above.
Here’s a sweeping view from the same spot, in which you can see the curve of almost the whole inlet.
To the far right you can see a top-to-bottom landslide. I think that’s where the old trail went.
Although the trail officially ended at the northernmost point, it’s possible to continue along the rocks around the curve. In fact, if you go far enough, you’ll see cairns again, and they lead quite a ways.
I made it, as far as I can tell, just to the edge of that landslide. Here’s what La Ventana looks like that far along. It’s at quite an angle.
Also, from that point I was able to look back to the northernmost promontory.
(No, that’s not a false promontory.)
On the way back, I did get a shot of myself with La Ventana behind.
The trip back was uneventful. It is always interesting, though, to see my bare footprints in reverse. I thought I was trying to walk on the rocks, but it was funny to see how much I hadn’t managed to.
There was water up there (a result of “monsoon season”), and this picture shows my bare footprint as it sunk into the wet soil. (Look at the bottom, slightly to the right).
The total hike was about 8 miles: 7 miles officially, plus portion around the curve that added about a mile.