Canyonlands & Arch Canyon Blog -- page 2:


     Since we were in Lavender Canyon, and I had always wanted to go there and see the other 5 famous arches there, and it was a rough hour-long drive back out to the highway, and since we had had to apply for a permit weeks earlier in order to be there in the first place, I told the guys that I wanted to just stay there for another couple of hours and 4-wheel through it on my own, knowing it could be years before I’d ever get to go back, if ever.  So they went on, and I drove the opposite direction, down into the beautiful canyon which got its name after some old cowboy named Billy Lavender who discovered it, not because the rocks are anything else besides the typical orange, brown, and rust colors of all the other canyons there.  Driving through it, one of the few parts of the park where vehicles are allowed, I knew I was the only human on the face of the planet in the whole wonderful place.  The Park Service only gives out 8 permits a day to go in there, and few are willing to do the hour-long rough trail to even get there anyway.  Our group had reserved all 8 passes that day, though only the 4 of us wound up going.  They had all left, so there I was… six billion people on this planet, and I was the only one in magnificent Lavender Canyon!!  That was a great feeling.  After all, it’s not just any canyon… it’s worthy of the highest honor that can be bestowed on an area of land, being named a part of a National Park, to be forever preserved in its pristine, natural state. 

     I passed the Caterpillar Arch, the Handhold Arch, Teapot Arch, and Black Arch… searching for the famous Cleft Arch, which I knew was beyond them all.  But first, I parked in the shade of a cliff, in a sandy river bed, to wash my pitiful sore feet, change socks, and eat a bit.  I should not have!  I suddenly realized that clouds were coming up, and the whole canyon would be in shadow – lousy for pictures.  But I went on to the Cleft Arch anyway.  I had seen pictures of it, but I had no idea… it was enormous!  I thought I had already seen all the really giant spans of the park, even of the whole southeast Utah area -- but wow… this one was breathtaking, spectacular, incredible.  I wanted to climb up right inside it… it looked like a major scramble, but quite possible; and I wanted to see the other side, the hidden side, too.  But the light was bad, it was getting late, and the Natural Arch and Bridge Society was having a group cookout that very night at 7:00 and I was still 2 hours away from where they’d be.  So sadly, I had to leave – promising to return to that wonderful spot again, on a clear, sunshiny day, all fresh and energetic and ready to climb up into the Cleft Arch!

The Cleft Arch, which is much bigger than it looks:


     The picnic went very well, even though I had to be sociable with a bunch of strangers.  Some of the old-time members showed up, which was good, and even though most of the people there hadn’t known me before, by this, the fifth day, several acted like they knew me now since we had been on some of the outings together already; so people were real friendly.  When the president mentioned again that I’d been in the group clear since the first year, 20 years ago, that seemed to win respect from the newbies, who were looking up to me like I was some kind of great arch guru they could all sit at the feet of and learn wise things from.  Hey, maybe I am!  I asked around though, and it turned out that two other guys there had also been members from the beginning, so I wasn’t the only one.  One of the vice-presidents of the group, whom I had never met before, had a guitar and microphone set up.  He stood there and sang country music for a solid three hours while everybody else ate and visited, totally from memory!  It was very impressive.  Some of the people even danced.

     After dark, I went back to my hidden camping spot again.  I was originally scheduled to go on an overnight backpack to the great Angel Arch in Canyonlands the next day… but I knew there was no way my feet would make it.  I guess everybody else felt the same way, because they cancelled the whole trip; after all it’s a 20-mile hike, in a river most of the way – yes, IN it.  I had driven to the Angel Arch about 15 years ago, three days after I got the first 4-wheel-drive truck of my life and my first brand new vehicle ever, my 1994 green Dodge pickup – that was quite a way to learn all about 4-wheeling, and how to not worry about getting a new vehicle all scratched up, because it’s bound to happen!  Back then it was permitted to drive to the arch, but for the last many years the whole Salt Wash has been closed off, so the only way to see the arch is by hiking.  I had run out of film when I was there that time, and had always wanted to go back.  But I decided the few pictures I have will just have to do.

A picture I took many years ago of the great Angel Arch in Canyonlands...
notice the giant figure on the right of the opening, with wings, robe, and bowed head:


     Even though several more hikes and trips were planned for the next 4 days by the group, I wasn’t very interested in any of them, or had already seen the places they were going, so I left on Thursday.  I drove about 40 miles to the tiny town of Monticello UT, which is no doubt the smallest town in the world to have a Mormon Temple, though it’s not a very big one, and the only one in the whole southeast quarter of the state.  But I was mainly interested in parking next to the Days Inn and hooking into their wi-fi so I could check my internet after a week.  Some of the people who had been staying there told me the secret password was bluegoose, so I typed it in and it worked.  But I didn’t have much mail, so on I went, after a stop for a few more groceries, including a whole box of ice cream, which I sat in the parking lot and ate all of (or all I could, before it melted).  I was heading for Arch Canyon, another 30 miles away.  

Arch Canyon

     I had driven Arch Canyon about 14 years ago or so, in the same green Dodge – and had done $1000 of damage to the right side of the truck, which I never bothered to fix though I kept the truck for another 150,000 miles after that.  This time I would be more careful in my red Dodge!  The canyon is known for two great arches, one called the Cathedral Arch, and the other called, just like the one in Canyonlands, the Angel Arch.  Even though the name is highly appropriate for the one in Canyonlands, as can be seen in any picture, the one in Arch Canyon got the name first, before the other one was even discovered… so they still have the same name, which is confusing since they’re both very large, and in the same part of the state.  The Angel Arch here in Arch Canyon had always been one of my favorites in the whole world – to me it’s just incredible, its size, shape, and location – one of the most majestic spans on the planet. 

The Angel Arch in Arch Canyon, on my first visit on a foggy days many years ago:


     I started up the canyon road, a terribly rough track, partly under water, and immediately got off track – I was on the wrong dirt road.  I was also not real happy, because a whole yellow schoolbus was parked nearby with dozens of kids roaming the hills, with a few yelling adults behind them.  I figured I’d go ahead and start the drive up-canyon and get away from them, but I went and looked for a camping spot first.  When I drove back, the whole busload of kids was being herded up the 4-wheel-drive road that leads to the arches!  I knew good and well they weren’t hiking the whole way, which would be many miles, but I just decided to skip the drive that afternoon and do it the next day; after all, I wanted to continue reading my book, so I did. 

     The camping spot was wonderful, beneath some ancient cottonwoods – but that night I heard something I never heard before in all my years of camping out:  the most amazing shrieking, howling caterwauling sounds I’d ever heard – way off in the distance, not close enough to get scared by, but all the same very weird, strange, unearthly.  A banshee wail, up and down the scale, long and drawn out, with seemingly endless breath, eventually trailing off, only to start again, just as loud and long.  What was it?!?  I still don’t know.  Do cougars make that sound, do coyotes?  I don’t think so.  A bugling elk?  They don’t sound like that.  Had wolves returned to the area?  Had they ever been there?  Did they have Bigfoots there?  Or Bigfeet??  Or were the kids in the schoolbus just acting up, with some freaky recorded sound?  Guess I’ll never know.  I felt safe in the truck anyhow, and finally fell asleep.

     The next day, I finished my book, and just relaxed until the afternoon, because I wanted pictures of the two grand arches in the sunset evening light.  I had heard over 20 years ago that both arches face the west, directly into the setting sun, and shine a beautiful golden tone in the dying light each day, as long as there aren’t clouds.  Which there had been that time 14 years ago when I had last driven it, complete with truck damage; and not just clouds, there had been rain and fog and mist too.  I was greatly annoyed that time, thinking my trip was a big waste, photographically – but I got some of my favorite pictures of all time that time; the Angel Arch in the fog was beautiful, though I didn’t get any good ones at all of the Cathedral Arch.  This time I would!  At least I hoped so, the sky looked clear.  I took off, splashing down the primitive tracks.  The road is so incredibly rough that it crosses the same stream 62 times.  Each way!!  The stream winds and curves so much, and so do the canyon walls, that sometimes the tracks I was trying to drive on are on one side of the stream, then suddenly they go through the water and mud to the other side, whichever is easiest, though usually neither side is because of rocks. 

     I had been warned before I went that there had been a big rockfall about a mile up the trail, and that most vehicles could no longer get beyond that.  I had stopped in Monticello at the BLM office to ask them, and the lady there in charge said that yes, she had tried just a week earlier and could only go that far.  But I went anyhow, hoping somehow I could get through.  They were right.  No way!  Well, I could have, but I might not be able to get back over, which would have been a predicament for sure.  And who knew how bad other areas might be beyond that.  The road had been so rough the first time I drove it that I had never even realized it when I did the $1000 of damage to the side of the truck, I never discovered it until I got out of the canyon the next day.  So I had a talk with myself.  What was more advantageous, me losing weight or me tearing up my truck?  So that decided it… I was going to hike to the two great arches, with a backpack. 

      I really hate backpacking.  They are never comfortable, and you have to carry a tent, a sleeping bag, an air mattress, a couple days’ food, plenty of water, your camera, plus little stuff like a flashlight, extra film, and toilet paper.  It adds up to about 30 lbs.  No big deal for a while, but for 10 miles?  Over rough rocky ground?  When you haven’t done it in years?  In the heat?  Some people get used to it and don’t seem to mind, but you definitely have to accustom your body to it.  And mine was not. 

      But I had never done this canyon on foot and had no clear idea how far away the arches were.  Somebody had told me it was about a 4-hour trip each way, which seemed about right.  I’d really rather have just done it as a day trip, in and out in one day carrying nothing but a fanny pack with water and some power bars, like I had been doing all week anyway, but that way I couldn’t get those late evening setting sun pictures that I had always dreamed of getting – I’d be walking back in the dark.  So it was backpack and spend the night, or nothing.  At about 1 p.m. I set off. 

      Four hours in the heat seems endless, especially when you don’t really know where you’re going.  Actually you can hardly get lost in a canyon, there are no side roads or crossroads, the stream only flows one way, and the walls are way too steep to climb in most areas.  So you just go upstream and sooner or later you’re bound to get there, wherever it is you’re going.  So I kept plodding on.  It’s a wide canyon, with little shade from the mid-day sun, but the heat wasn’t awful, though my sunburn from the last few days was.  I knew it was one of the rare canyons that has water year-round in the stream, so I had brought my purifier so I could drink the stream water after I finished the quart of water I had carried with me, which saved weight… in a dry canyon I’d have needed to carry a gallon.  I went through that quart pretty quickly, and the canyon water was cooler and good, though I had to be careful not to suck little black polliwogs into my container when I dipped it in the stream each time.  Following the old rough trail, I counted each time it crossed the stream.  I had parked the truck by the 9th crossing, so counting them now as I walked would give me some slight idea of the distance I was travelling.

     Actually I did have a map with me, but as usual it wasn’t very detailed or reliable when used for walking, it was on more of a grand scale, and I could hardly match anything up with what I was seeing or passing as I tramped on and on.  The backpack was already killing me, not being used to it, but I knew I had to have it.  The sand was often deep as I trudged down the old tracks, and I was moving rather slowly.  Four or five times I found a rock to sit on to rest, wondering how much farther I had, and often thinking why didn’t I go ahead and try to get the truck over that rocky area?  I could have carried rocks and filled it all in even if it took me a couple of hours, and that still would have been quicker than walking.  But I knew the hiking was “good for me”, and driving was being lazy, and I needed to stay in shape, so on I went. 

     Four hours turned out to be about right.  I was getting pretty discouraged as the hours went by, not being able to judge how far it was really going to be, since hiking and driving are nowhere near the same time frame, and besides it had been many years ago since I had even driven it.  For all I knew it might really take me 6 or 8 hours, and my back was totally killing me by then.  But suddenly, and rather abruptly, I looked up and I just knew it… the Cathedral Arch was right ahead, even though I was seeing it from the edge and it was quite unrecognizable at that angle.  That perked me up, and I even forgot about my aching back for a while.  The opening became visible, the road curved around, I crossed the stream for the 62nd time – and the road ended!  Well, that was weird, I thought.  I had clearly remembered camping, all those years ago, right across the valley from the Angel Arch which was still a half mile upstream, not the Cathedral Arch.  But the tracks dead-ended with great finality right there, at a very pleasant wooded area nearby that made a great camping spot.  I had just noticed those trees… huge, tall pines like you would find in the rainy northwest states… hardly typical for a canyon bottom.  For some reason that little area must have its own microclimate that allows them to grow.  I thought wow, this should be National Forest land, not just BLM land.  No sooner than I had thought that, when a tiny sign appeared by the trail that said, “Welcome to your National Forest”!  And it actually was – the boundary of the San Juan National Forest was right there at the road’s end.  I finally took off my backpack, took some pictures, then headed on up a narrow foot path that kept disappearing, to the Angel Arch.

The Cathedral Arch in the afternoon:


     It was totally obvious there had never been a road of any kind to the Angel Arch!  I don’t know why I thought there was.  There was nothing but an incredibly rocky stream full of boulders the size of old Volkswagens that nothing on earth could have driven over.  It made me remember what Mark Twain had said about travellers:  a great traveller sees many things he’ll never remember, and remembers many things he never saw. 

     I got my pictures!  I stayed in front of the Angel Arch until the shadows started to creep up the side of it, as the sun fell behind the cliff walls.  You’d think that more or less one out of four arches would face the setting sun in the west, but it’s really a rare thing… even if an arch does face west, most have canyon or cliff walls nearby, or even trees, that block the sun in the afternoon long before it starts to set.  So a great arch glowing gold in the evening light is a rare treasure, and the slanting light of sunset hours is always more beautiful than the harsh shadowless vertical light of mid-day.  I took a lot of pictures, and got much closer to the great span than I had the previous time, up to where I easily got sky beneath the curving rock.  I must have spent an hour there – after all, it’s one of my favorite places on earth, one of the most majestic of all of Nature’s creations.  I took picture after picture… everywhere I stepped seemed an even more picturesque spot, and the light just got better and better as the sun sank.  But finally I had to go; I knew the Cathedral Arch, back down the trail, was also losing light, though it would hold it a little bit longer, with no canyon walls at all in front of it.  As I turned to leave, suddenly some words hit me – “Bye-bye, my beautiful Angel – I’ll never see you again.”  I've never gotten kind of sad over a rock, no matter how magnificent.  Well, okay, I did when I heard the Wall Arch had fallen, but that was like a death in the family.  Many a time I’ve left a beautiful arch or natural bridge, after a long hike or a hard drive, and have said, “Good-bye, I hope I see you again.”  But this time, I knew it was final… I’m getting older, the hike was not fun at all, you can’t drive to it any more, and even though I’m willing to make an equally hard hike any time again for a great natural span, I’d rather put forth that effort going to one I’ve never seen yet rather than back to one I’ve visited twice.  But still it was sad, leaving a friend for the last time.  I walked backward down the path until the arch was out of sight around a corner – not an easy thing to do on a rocky cliffside trail. 

The Angel Arch in Arch Canyon in the evening:


     The Cathedral Arch was still in its glory.  That is one arch that never shows blue sky under it from the typical viewpoint.  I daresay you could climb way up to it, look upwards, and finally get some sky through it, but I was in no physical condition after a week of hiking to bother with it, and it’s a high one… besides, at that close angle, it would just look like a band of rock overhead against the sky with no particular character or personality.  But it did something rare and wonderful that night, something I had never seen anywhere before.  For some reason, the area directly behind the opening retained the orange glow of the sun long after the arch itself had gone into shadow – so instead of the typical classic shot of a span with bright blue or white clouds showing through it, I got an unusual shot of one with a shining brilliant cliff wall behind.  And then it faded out, within minutes.  The show was over. 

The Cathedral Arch at sunset:


     What on earth made me think about walking the whole 4 hours back to the truck that night?  Why??  Was I nuts?  Did I really think I’d have that much more daylight to walk in?  Even though the canyon walls were now all in shadow, the sky itself was still quite bright and bluish-white.  I decided instead of camping there at the end of the road under the great tall pines, and then hiking the whole 4 or more hours back the next day, that I would just hike back a little ways, maybe an hour, and then camp, in order to get a head start the next day and not have so far to go. 

     I went a ways, crossing the stream several times as before, but this time counting backwards… 61, 60, 59, 58….  That was more or less my method of measuring how far I had to go to get back to the truck at the 9th crossing, though the distance between crossings was completely irregular; but still, that gave me some idea of the distance back, if I didn’t lose count.  I got down to crossing number 50 or so, where I thought I’d probably start to set up camp, but the sky was still somewhat light, so I went a bit farther.  At #45, it was obviously getting late (I didn’t have a watch), but still I could see clearly enough, so I kept on.  It was nice and cool, and I was walking much faster than on the way in, when I had been hot and tired and a bit discouraged by the distance… in fact I was now matching about 3 of my footprints to every 4 heading the other way.  The backpack was still hurting me mightily, though.

      I got down to the 40th crossing.  The sky ahead was pretty dark, though behind was still clear and the light-colored sand of the road still showed up fairly well.  I knew I should stop and set up camp… but it takes so long to do that!  I hadn’t set up my tent in years and would have to figure it out all over again.  I’d have to blow up my air mattress, which takes a lot of breath, 10 minutes or more.  I’d have to unfurl my sleeping bag, and then pack everything back up again in the morning, after shaking the sand back out of it all, and stuff it all back in my backpack, which has always been an extremely tight fit… okay, all that was no big deal, but still it just seemed easier to keep walking… and walking… and walking. 

      The crossings got harder and harder as the light faded… sometimes I couldn’t tell water from mud from dry land.  I was stumbling constantly over large rocks in the dirt road that no longer had shadows to make them show up well.  The backpack seemed of course even heavier than ever, and my back was absolutely torqued with constant pain by then, plus I was developing a painful left foot.  I thought it was just sand in the shoe, but after dumping it out and shaking out the sock, it made no difference – I had a blister.  No, I had two.  Well tough; on I went.  The numbers slowly kept going backwards, down into the mid 30’s, as the sky went nearly black. 

     What had that screaming been the night before?  Was I going to hear it again?  Closer this time?  Did the maker of that noise eat lone hikers at night??  I was walking faster, maybe even 2 steps for every previous 4 in the flatter areas, though the light was simply gone by now.  I finally stopped to get out my little flashlight; after all I was not being foolish or stupid about the whole thing, I was totally prepared to camp if I had to, and I still had food and water plus light (though who can know how long batteries will last).  But by now I had for some reason set the crazy goal of getting clear back to the truck that very night, and even driving on back out to the mouth of the canyon – I really didn’t want to set up a tent in the dark.  As I hurried on, that plan even expanded… if I got out in time, I would reward myself by going clear on in to the next little town and get a room at a cheap motel I had seen on the way in… with the first shower I’d had in 8 days, whether I needed it or not!  Wow, that spurred me on. 

     I only turned on the flashlight every few minutes, still somewhat able to see the road if I pushed my glasses back up my sweaty nose every minute or so.  By then it was hopeless to try to make any crossings without light though, but I didn’t dare waste light and the batteries by using it the whole time.  But now it was simply black out there… I’d turn on the light, peer as far as I could see, then turn it right back off and walk blindly the same distance… over and over like that.  It was ridiculous, and again, I knew I could at any time just give up and pitch the tent, but by now reaching the truck had become a quest!  I was determined to make it.  I plunged on through the dark, on the faint sandy tracks…

      …and totally lost them.  Actually it seemed that they went in a circle.  That was crazy!  How could the road do that?  For the first time I suddenly felt that I wouldn’t make my goal… I was clearly lost.  I was using more and more of the light, practically constantly now, and the road literally did go in a circle.  I backtracked, clear back beyond the last stream crossing, then tried again… once more, I went in a complete circle.  It made no sense!  Back again, back over the same crossing, but this time finally, I picked up a faint trail heading in another direction, which eventually proved to be the real trail again.  The circular area I guess was some kind of a turn-around area off to the side of the tracks that I hadn’t noticed on the way in. 

     After another 20 minutes or so, tramping along in the night, it suddenly hit me with a jolt that maybe I had gotten totally turned around back there and was heading right back up the canyon!  That was a horrible thought.  I had already noticed that the stars were out in full force.  I was also hoping that the moon would soon rise so I could see somewhat better, but it’s a good thing I didn’t depend on that, because as I found out the next night, it would not have risen until after 3 a.m.

     I stopped in my tracks, and with great effort lifted my sore shoulders back and head up to scan the night sky.  Straight behind me was the constellation Gemini… I could recognize Castor and Pollux, the twin stars, any time.  And they were always next to Ursa Major, the Big Dipper.  And the pointer stars on the edge of the dipper always point to the star at the tail end of the Little Dipper – Polaris, or the North Star.  Yes, there it was, directly behind the direction I had been walking.  And yes, I knew the mouth of the canyon faced almost straight south.  If the North Star was behind me, that meant I was headed right!!

     But more than once after that, I still had little frantic moments when I lost the track.  Still I assured myself that there was no reason to worry, I was totally supplied if I got hopelessly lost… but by now I was bound and determined to get to that cheap motel that night.  And of course the memories of the distant screams in the night kept coming back.  I wanted to be out of there! 

     I was using the flashlight constantly, it was vital for every step.  If it failed, I’d have no choice but to set up camp, pitching the tent by feel – what a hassle, but possible.  But by then I had given up on conserving the light – if it went, it went; on the other hand, it might do just fine for as long as I needed it, who knew.  The crossings were way down into the teens by then… I knew I was getting close.  I had parked the truck beside the tracks right before that rockfall that stopped me.  Every time I came upon a rocky area, I’d get excited, thinking is this the place?  And I’d anxiously shine the light far ahead, hoping for a reflection of some sort off the truck; but time after time, disappointment.  I was actually hoping that I had miscounted the crossings and that somehow the truck would show up somewhere in the teens instead of near crossing #9, but no such luck.  Finally, with great anticipation and excitement, stream crossing #9 showed up, and I skipped right on over… and nothing was there.  No rocks, no truck.  Well, maybe I’d goofed on the count, if not on the way out, maybe I had on the way in, because I hadn’t realized it would become so important to me as I was hiking in that afternoon.  Crossing #8 showed up, and I was feeling happy again… just a tiny bit farther!  But no… nothing.  Not at 7, not at 6, not at 5, not at 4… what was going on?!?  Then it struck me… I must have totally passed the truck!  I must have walked right on past it in the dark.  There were so many rocky areas that I’d evidently not even noticed when I passed the one that that had stopped me from driving in.  So the truck was back behind me… somewhere… far back there… or was it? 

     No, I couldn’t be so oblivious as to miss a whole truck, even in the black night!  Well okay, I know me, I could have.  Obviously I had goofed up badly somehow or other, either by missing the truck or dramatically miscounting the crossings.  I hoped it was the latter.  I decided I’d rather keep going on forward, even though I was totally confused.  I realized that if I had indeed missed the truck in the dark back there, that the mouth of the canyon was only a mile ahead, complete with my camping spot under the cottonwood trees, the schoolbus, and the noisy kids.  I’d rather pitch my tent there and walk back in the next morning to retrieve the truck than to stay in that dark and frustrating canyon.  For once I wouldn’t mind camping next to some other people! 

     And then things suddenly got familiar.  Even in the dark.  The rocky area showed up.  The very rocks that I had inspected hours earlier and had decided would totally tear up my axles suddenly looked as delightful to me as the arches had been.  And something was shining a few feet ahead – the bumper of a red Dodge pickup!  Yeehaw!!  For the first time that entire day, I spoke words out loud… I don’t remember what they were, but no doubt yeehaw was one of them.  After all, that’s what an Okie says when he gets excited.  I opened the door on the right, swung my heavy pack onto the seat like it was a passenger, drank the last of the stream water from my bottle, went around and hoisted my sore and weary self into the driver’s seat, and took off for the mouth of the canyon! 

     Even that seemed like it was much farther away than I had thought, and I’m sure glad I didn’t have to hike it after all, since there were long stretches of deep water with no way to walk around them which I had hardly thought twice about driving through earlier, but would have been totally unpleasant to walk through.  But then, at last I was out.  Out of Arch Canyon.  Was it worth it?  I don’t know.  I have a lot of pictures now, though the colors didn't turn out quite right.  I probably lost 5 lbs, which maybe will stay off for a while (but there are lots easier ways to lose weight, I decided).  I’ve never heard of any wild animals attacking hikers anywhere in the whole area in all the decades I’ve been there, so I’m sure (I am?) that I would have been safe if I’d not made it back to the truck.  I achieved a goal that my silly mind had set, though it proved lots harder than I ever guessed it would be.  I felt beat up, skinned up, scratched up, scuffed up, scabbed up, scarred up, and I was; my back still hurts, so do the feet and the sunburn, and after the pack came off I suddenly realized that both my shoulders were sore too from the straps… I hadn’t even noticed that before.  But hey, I did it, and it was an adventure.  And adventures build confidence and character.  And memories – hopefully accurate ones. 

     And yes, I did make it back to that tacky $25-a-night motel room, though I had to get the manager lady out of bed to come sell me a room, the last one they had, and she even had to go clean it up and make up the bed with clean sheets before she’d let me have it.  I didn’t mind!  I had a shower to get the red dirt off, then soaked in a tub of hot water for half an hour, then slept till 10 a.m.

     I was actually supposed to go back to Canyonlands and make an overnight backpack to the great Druid Arch that very day, a 10-mile hike.  I had even bought the permit, made the campground reservation, and got my truck pass.  But for some reason, I don’t know why, I just said… forget it!!  They can just keep the money.  I’m going home!!  And so I did. 

          -- Galen  

Back to Page One of this story

Back to Home Page