Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thr 48-hour remedy for ennui

Today in sacrament meeting, a little boy got up and said, "I want to bear my testimony. Today is the Super Bowl, and we're all excited about it. But we can't forget what Sunday is for."

I laughed. A lot.

My car and I went off-roading today, a couple of times. (Should I name my car? I feel like it's my partner in a good many of my adventures, and I talk to it, and I beg it to do things, and I offer to wash it in exchange for good behavior. But I don't know if it's male or female. I kind of think of it as more of an androgynous dog.)

Today I drove east along the Colorado River plateau up to Fisher Towers, a Bryce Canyon-looking place that was disappointing only in that the day was overcast and so the deep red in the rock was somewhat muted. There was a lot of snow on the ground, but for the most part I stayed upright and I got some striking views of the towers. I also got some good views of the ground, as about every 10 steps I had to stop and look for a cairn or footprints or some sort of man-made trial marker to indicate I was in the right place.

For the most part, though, I found the trail pretty quickly, up until I got to that beast -- the Titan. It's the largest in the tower. I couldn't find a trail anywhere. I followed footsteps until they disappeared into rock. I retraced my steps to look for a trail I'd missed. I climbed a couple of rocks to see where they led. Off cliffs, all of them. After about 10 minutes I sat down and pulled out my little pamphlet to see if it could help. Sure enough -- you have to go around the Titan. I did. Guess what? There's a trail. I get lots of points for observation this weekend.
Fisher Towers
I finally reached the ridge that afforded me a panoramic view of the towers, the canyons, the Colorado River plateau and more. I do wish it had been sunnier, but that's part of the risk of going in the off season. Plus, red rocks in winter are just as pretty, but in a different way, as red rocks in summer. Then I headed back -- a few hundred feet into my 2.3-mile hike I realized it was snowing. Given that I was hiking back on more than a few cliff edges, and then driving a couple of miles on a dirt road, the snow was bad news. I ran.

I ended up running longer than it snowed, but it was kind of fun. I made it back without incident, the road was fine, and I headed over to Hunter Canyon for my last hike, hoping the snow would dissipate. It did, mostly, although the sun only came out for about five minutes on Sunday. I found the road I needed easily, I marked the distance I needed and I started driving.

Then I went off-roading. Didn't know that was coming. Then I kept going down, which in retrospect (remember I'm not very observant) shouldn't have been a surprise, since it was a canyon bottom hike. Then it was muddy. Then it was snowy. Then it was icy. Then I was wondering if I had a death wish and me and my androgynous dog car were going to go off the side of a canyon and die in a flaming ball of metal and rubber.

Good news -- I didn't! I almost didn't get a hike out of it either; I hit a dip in the road that was filled with icy water, realized there was no way ADC was going to make it and turned around in the nearest parking, only to find myself hood to face with a sign for Hunter's Canyon. And this:

No door. No roof. No shame.

The trail through the canyon was, at best, difficult to follow much of the time. There was a lot of frozen stream hopping, climbing over rocks and trying to follow these elusive footprints. At one point I was confronted with stream, no rocks to cross it, no trail visible anywhere. I crossed and recrossed the stream twice, clambering up the side by holding onto the dead plants, then tramping through snow trying to find some sign of human life. Nothing. Anywhere. I finally walked about 50 feet, then decided to get back to the stream. I could not get lost as long as I stayed near the water. So I fight my way back through dead reeds -- and discover a trail. Mother Nature was playing a game with me. And she was winning.

Also, at the register, I noticed the people above me had written in the comments, "Sad rock monster." I was amused. And then thought nothing more of it until I saw an interesting cave and took a picture --- and then actually saw it.

Sad rock monster!

There's another story for Hunter's Canyon, too, but I'm gonna make you wait on that. First, let's look at pictures from Saturday!

Morning Glory Arch
Do you see the arch? Do you? Yeah, I did too, as soon as I saw this picture. And then felt kind of goofy. But oh well. As I told my roommate, not seeing the arch meant I made some friends.

Do you see it now?

Now it's a little easier.
My new friends

I've been locked inside your heart-shaped rock for weeks
The view of Moab from the top of the overlook. I wish I had a better camera -- and better camera skills -- and went to pretty places every weekend.

Now, you already know I lost one arch -- but the story does not end there. I apparently have some sort of arch-blindness, which normally is not a problem but in Moab, you might as well not see sky. Or water. On Saturday night I hiked up to Corona Arch, which is miles west along the Colorado River. I was focused on not losing the trail, since cairns were randomly popping up everywhere. So imagine my surprise when I look up and discover this:

There's the arch! In my defense, without the sky as a backdrop it looks like this:

In Hunter's Canyon, I also was on the lookout for a large arch. I'd completely missed it on the way in, but I thought it was farther in than it was and I was more interested in not falling in the half frozen creek. So on the way back, I paid a lot of attention to the rock and wondered how on earth I missed a large arch.


It doesn't have a name, but I've given it one: I Trompis Vin Arch. It means "I tricked you" in Esperanto.

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