Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Adventure 1 was a two day hike through "The Narrows," the world's longest slot canyon, 16 miles top to bottom, my sources tell me. Gordon was our shuttleman. I stiffed him on the tip because I left my wallet in the car. Fortunately, he was our shuttleman for our 3rd adventure so I got to make it up to him.As it turned out, The Narrows thru-hike was a perfect introduction to Zion National Park. We began in this field of wild flowers, a tiny stream serving as our sole trail description. It was hard to imagine such a small thing could cut a 1,000 foot trench into the earth. Soon enough there was nothing to imagine - the proof was chiseled almost out of sight on both sides of us.
We ate lunch on some slickrock outcroppings. Tuna-bagel sandwich. Lesson learned: don't pack tuna. We had bought "family size" (it should have been called "small army size"). It served as lunch and dinner. And it's a good thing that we were not in bear country because it stunk! We would have been goners for sure.
We spent half the time wading. If the water wasn't so low, we would have waded even more. We crossed that river so many times I wouldn't have been able to keep count. The trail continued to grow "narrower." Soon we were completely bracketed by impossibly high cliffs. I think I said "woah" more times in these two days than on all others combined.We found our campsite around 5pm. It was already beginning to get dark. We set up camp, ate dinner, and enjoyed the last bit of light down by the river. We had quite a laugh at the expense of my feet. Peeling off the canyoneering boots and neoprene socks we had rented, I was introduced to one of the most frightening sights of my life. My skin was this crazy stale purple color, and it hung hideously in wrinkles from my bones. It reminded me of Emperor Palpatine's skin in Star Wars, at least what I imagine his feet looking like based on his face.
We were fast asleep by 8pm. The next morning we ate peanut butter bagels (much better than tuna, though Lia had been a bit (way) extreme in her apportioning) and lamented the lack of coffee. We had decided not to bring my peculator on the two day hike because we didn't want to have to take dumps (they give you these foily bags to poop in and make you carry it out). However, our plans were spoiled by gastro-colic reflex from the humongous glops of peanut butter. The poop bags worked great until one exploded as I was cinching it down to my pack. Still things were ok. I simply put one bag in the other, and it was fine, until the second exploded when, while I was wading, chest high, I slipped, throwing my bag to safety but having it land directly down on poop bag two. I'm pretty sure people could smell us before they saw us.Speaking of people, the first day, we saw a grand total of three. The next, we didn't see any until about 11am or so when the bottom-uppers began trickling upstream. Frankly, it was kind of weird seeing them. We had grown accustomed to having the canyon to ourselves.
What a beginning! What a blast! And amazingly we came out unscathed. Lia did have one plunge, but the pool was so deep she didn't hit any rocks; only her wrist (and the camera she was holding) remained dry.Adventure 1 compete. If it had been the only thing we did all week, it would have been well worth the trip...but there was much more to come...(by the way, to give you some perspective, in the picture below, you can just barely see me, climbing the bottom of the rock!)