Saturday, May 06, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
-Me and “The Animal”(who earned the name The Lizard King on the trip) in the lower section of the canyon on day 3.
Last week my adventure began on Wednesday evening after work. A group of us set off for the lower Grand Gulch canyon in southern
Our group drove through the night and rolled up to the trail head a few hours before dawn Thursday morning. The 8+ hour drive took its toll on the group, most of which flew into
Side Note: I saw real quicksand in action for the first time on this walk. The Animal (pictured) was almost completely consumed (buried up to his waist and still sinking) in a rather deep hole near Camp #1. He was able to escape unassisted by thrusting his trekking poles into the quicksand, which completely submerged and allowed him enough leverage to jump out of there. If he had been alone and had no poles, he may have been in considerable danger…and I thought that stuff only happened in the movies.
The group strolled into Camp #1 just after 5pm and was in high spirits (most of the walk was at a slight decline...and we had just seen The Animal squirming around waist deep in mud!) We filtered water, ate dinner (pasta with marinara sauce) and lounged around into the night with most everybody turning in early (~9:30pm). I slept in my Hammock and sleeping bag between two cottonwood trees…like a log, I might add.
With the group well rested, we tried to rally an earlier start than the day before. But no such luck, by the time we were done cleaning up breakfast (oats/fruit and coffee) we only managed to shave about 30 minutes off our start time. The gang headed out for Camp#2 just after10am. Today’s walk down the canyon would reveal an ancient civilization. Not long into the walk the group came upon “Redman canyon”, so named because of the Redman pictograph at the mouth of the canyon. This was the first time I’d ever seen a non managed hieroglyph. Unfortunately it had been slightly defaced by some thoughtless moron in past years (why they manage them), but still delivered a strong presents of the ancient Anasazi people who inhabited this area.
“As the Anasazi settled into their village/farming lifestyle, recognizable regional variants or subcultures emerged, which can be usefully combined into two larger groups. The eastern branches of the Anasazi culture include the Mesa Verde Anasazi of southeastern
The group made it into Camp#2 below Shaw Arch just after 6pm, after accidentally walking past it about a mile. We could not believe we missed it! With so much to look at, we forgot to find where we were going. We laughed it off and were glad to be home. This would be camp for the next two days. We prepared a large dinner of bean and veggie burritos, with fresh guacamole, jalapenos peppers, cheese and salsa. A great feed!!
*Side note: At this point the group was pretty well spent. Most of the group slept where they fell underneath the stars that night. With soar muscles and blistered feet the tequila and whiskey rations I packed were heavily taxed. The evening canyon noises are like nothing I’d ever heard. It sounded almost like a cocktail party.
Posted by coalex at 10:42 AM
“The move” just below the Shangrila Canyon rim, day 3. This picture was cropped tight to hide how crucial sticking this move really was. Sorry Mom.
Day3: Clear blue skies and warm sunshine greeted the group Saturday morning. A fresh, cool breeze filled the canyon with the sweet smell of cottonwoods and willows as we leisurely rolled out of their sleeping bags.
*Side Note: The first person up usually made the first of four rounds of coffee for the group. We called it “firing the French press”. We packed in three kinds of coffee; mocha, organic and Godiva. Powdered milk, chocolate and raw sugar finished off the perfect cup of joe!
Today would be a free day with no scheduled traveling. One of the greatest things about the way the trip was planned is that it catered to all styles of backpacker. This allowed people to take the trip at their own pace, which made it more enjoyable for everybody.
The relaxed type:
For most of the group the day would be filled with lounging around camp, swimming in the near by pools, some light hiking exploring the Anasazi treasures, and some sandal(Chaco) time, to let those soar and swollen feet have a day off. Our friend Sam has some great shots of the Anasazi treasures on his blog from the day.
The ”balls to the wall” type:
The Doctor (Will), The Animal (JP), Pedro and I would take this opportunity to “open up the fly wheel” (JP’s words) and cover some ground! Will had planned an “epic” day of exploration for those willing the boot up and get it on. We filled our Camelbaks, grabbed some Powerbars and set off for what would be one of the best walks I have ever done. The 17+ mile hike included a trip down the canyon to the Rio Grande, exploring the Rincons near Shangrila Canyon and the “Perfectr Kevia”, a trip to the rim above Shangrila(pictured) and most importantly a whole day of laughing and enjoying my friends in this one of a kind place!
We were back by dusk and found the rest of the group had started the night’s dinner of Indian food (dot not feather). I had a curry dish that was out of this world.
*Side Note: By dusk the group was well feed and laying flat on their backs stargazing. It looked like a bomb went off at our camp with body sprinkled throughout the site. The night would treat us with a shooting star that went from horizon to horizon (longest I have ever seen). The group erupted with many oohs and aahs, I even heard a few hallelujahs!
Posted by coalex at 10:38 AM