Saturday, June 24, 2006

Conquering Fears in the Wilderness

I usually have the confidence to handle whatever comes my way while backpacking in the canyons until this last trip. My smaller backpack contained all my essentials (food, water, party favors, etc) and I realized I forgot my Phels Naptha soap to rid poison ivy oils off my skin and dog, Rocquette. A steep trail laden with poison ivy lead to our creek-canyon. No one else have had any reactions to poison ivy and there was no more petting Roc because she ran right through the offending plants. I donned my pants and long sleeve shirt in the blazing heat while the sweat dripped off my face. It's now been over 36 hours and no blisters have erupted on my skin. I think I've dodged this bullet.
I stripped down to my quick-drying shorts and cotton tee shirt and slowly waded out in a deep pool to rock-trough, a narrow tube of fast moving of spring water. I assumed it was spring fresh water. I gulped down the cool soothing water. No? We needed to filter this creek water? How long is the gestation period for giardia? I think I have 2-3 weeks until I have symptoms. Keep in touch.
Quicksand was my next fear as the slimy fine sand that sucked my Crocs off my feet under the waist-high water. I wanted to keep my Croc shoes. Barefoot was the way to handle the deep silt, even though the mud stayed slathered on my feet as I slurped and suctioned through the mud. One short section I had the choice to plow through "Poison Ivy," my husband had declared or wade the bottomless sludge pool. I'd given up my backpack to forge the deep pool. What happens if it is quicksand and I get sucked under? "Oops, there's no poison ivy," my husband, Ricki, yelled before I could take the plunge. I chose to slash through the high foliage wondering why I didn't I just swim?
I'm ready to call it quits after 8 hours of negotiate the slick wet rocks with a 35 pound pack on. I don't normally question my endurance but it's time to camp. I'll sleep anywhere. The sand near the creek looked good. Just one more push up a tower of boulders to an ancient granary site and bugless steep streaked U-shaped wall which gave some shade. I was a captive on an exclusive ancient bench, no way to get down without assistance. Morning turned into a traumatic, "no, I can't go down there," event. A rounded boulder dropped off and the higher boulder jutted out to make me swerve the 12 feet down to my freedom. I opted to slither down on my belly, held onto a crack and scraped my thighs raw until I found my footing, a flat rock.
We waited in the heat of the day under Broken Bow Arch before pushing up and out. It was still hot. There wasn't anymore water to filter for the trudge up a sandy, relentless hill to the truck and I couldn't drink enough to quench my thirst anyway. I got over my fear of failure when I reached the truck. I did it!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Roc Against Rock

The Starship Enterprise floated overhead as I jogged home on the dusty road. Home, where I'll be forever young. I saw no one on the ATV made roads through the pinion and Juniper trees. I was grateful for the small water bottle I carried in my hands and the sweet breezes that licked my sweaty body.
Just returned from the big city of Lost Wages. Las Vegas has become an extension to Southern California. Cars, people talking on cell phones, track houses, strip malls, and I was ready to go home before I arrived.
My trail runs are even more precious after being around cement and hordes of cars and people. Rocquette, my Jack Russell Terrier, is a good dog while running on a leash. Otherwise, she'd be chowing down on carrion, dead meat full of who-knows-what. I change my routes to break up the routine. One favorite route is around Rattlesnake Butte which has short and steep ups and downs and takes only fifty minutes from my house. I roll up my shorts to get those white thighs a chance to tan like my calves. Even though most of thoughts are of the recent past and near future, I catch myself in the moment. A bird song will bring me to the now or a breeze graces my senses.
The weather has been warm with light breezes to gusts of wind churning small spindly dart grass ends in circles. Weather is big topic of conversation in Escalante. When will it rain again?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Popcorn clouds

I woke up to a sky full of popcorn clouds and a wide deep-pink streak of color along the horizon. Another day of beauty and adventure. I'm driving over Boulder Mountain this morning to a little town called Bicknell to have my teeth cleaned.
Our rain barrel is full from yesterday's rain. The dust has settled down and so have my allergies. All is quiet except for the persistent hum from my Mac. A crow caws as it flies over the house. A new bird is hanging around the garden- kee, kee is its song. I hope to identify it soon.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Weather or Not

Escalante's weather has been/is nice and cool. The grey low clouds are lingering over and the sun hasn't peeked out once this morning.
It was a treat to ride my mountain bike down a gravel road through the Firs and Aspens while being sprinkled from the light rain. Burnt, gnarly tree trunks reminded me of dark ghosts clinging to the transit present. What was amazing we were totally alone during our 4 hour bike, hike, and 4-wheel drive wilderness adventure. I understand how a Floridian couple was blown away from sight-seeing all day in this beautiful area because they saw "no one."
The hike we found is called Stump Springs. It winds under a coral color cliff and clings to a ridge overlooking the Blues. Only a horse rider had been there before us. An avalanche or flood had cut through the spring and we bush-whacked our way around the debris. The vista were panoramic, albeit smoky from local controlled burns on Boulder Mountain. Biking seven miles to Stump Springs trailhead would be uphill an uphill grunt but with a screaming downhill to Highway 12.
My Pioneer spirit was happy yesterday exploring fresh territory and mapping out our next outing in Dixie National Forest.
I'm off for a trail run, probably on an illegal ATV road, with my dog, a Jack Russell terrier.
The sunset last night reminded me of whipped egg whites with a little pink coloring added.

Life is grand.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Just start writing. I pulled the "Student" in from my Caroline Myss archetype cards. I'm always learning something new. My "Pioneer" intimate archetype and the student will be friends today. My husband (he's not an archetype) and I are planning to drive up Main Canyon to scope out a mountain bike loop. I'll bring my bike and at least ride down-hill home.
Main Canyon leads up over Barney Top through Dixie National Forest to Bryce Canyon. We won't go to Bryce today but will cut over on 4-wheel drive roads and to our potential bike rides.
The sky is somewhat overcast; the sun is burning to get out. The air is still sweet from the cleansing guts last night. We had a spectacular sunset, albeit without much colors. The grey clouds continually transformed into galactic messages with their mother ships and alien shapes.
More on what we discover on our outing and tonight's sunset.