Everyone wants to know about the dog. Fair enough. My coworker Jamie took Snow (as it seems my family members would like to call her) to the shelter in Cedar City. As it turned out the county sherif had to come and pick the dog up, since she was actually found in a different county. Jamie wanted to keep the pup just as much as I did and was torn with leaving her.
When Jamie checked back the next day, the owners had already picked her up. She was a sheep dog who had gotten separated from the herd and hadn’t been seen in a few days. We have since driven around to the various sheep herds roaming the Dixie National Forest but are yet to reconnect with Snow. It’s a bittersweet ending to our friendship with the lovely dog, but I am sure things are turning out just fine for her.
While Jamie was reuniting the dog with the herd, I was on my way to Yellowstone for the night (as if you can spend just one night in Yellowstone – my gosh!).
This would naturally seem like a good segway to my adventures at Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and my visit to the absolutely wonderful long-lost family friends in the wine country just outside of Portland, Oregon, however, I am going to take a long-overdue detour to some slot canyons I visited earlier this summer. The reason, you ask? FLOODS.
There have been a few recently (still, a week later and all I hear about in the visitor center is people complaining about I-15 being shut down due to the distruction of the recent flood). It seems, after reading Craig Childs’ The Secret Knowledge of Water, that what people fail to realize about the desert is that, as dry as it is, it is a place defined and designed by water and floods. Floods are a natural and regular part of the deserts here. Maybe someday people will come to accept that no matter where you live or visit, there are natural terms and condtions which you must accept; these conditions cannot be avoided or manipulated and thus should be embraced and accepted for what they are. You want to come visit the southwest? You had better be willing to put up with its conditions; the same goes for wherever it is you decide to go.
Since we are so high up, it didn’t flood much here, although we did get about 48 hours worth of rain, which again is something visitors refused to understand and accept. The storm was beautiful. The clouds engolfed the ampatheater and the rest of the plateau. Some hours we were graced with the presence of hail and sleet. All good fun; a day to sit by the woodburning stove in the visitor center and sift through Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.
Things are better now. We are experiencing an indian summer, although from what I have gathered fall is actually three weeks early. I guess the reason I am calling it an indian summer is because, as of almost three weeks ago, we have experienced below freezing temperatures and even some snow. Now we are back in the high 60’s, but the aspens have/are already turning. I do not expect these sweet, pleasant days to last much longer.
Back in July I had the privaledge of hiking some of the Narrows at Zion. I didn’t get in too far; I would say I was only able to venture in about 6 or so miles. The pictures from the adventure, however, are worth showing off.
The Virgin River, which runs through these Narrows is not only responsible for carving out these slot canyons, but is also responsible for the massive distruction and flooding to I-15 down near Mesquite, Nevada.
As I got close to the end of Criag Child’s book, he mentioned a slot canyon that a few friends, co-workers, and I got to adventure through; the Lower Antelope Canyon, which is part of the odd and wonderful world of Glen Canyon.
There is an incredible amount I could say about Glen Canyon, but I’m trying to keep things short and let the pictures do the talking. To bring home just how powerful and remarkable these flood waters are, I’d like to quote a quick passage from Childs’ book:
[T]welve people were struck by a flash flood in a popular northern Arizona slot called Antelope Canyon. Only one person, the hiking guide, survived, while the other eleven drowned. He was thrown onto a ledge, mud packed beneath his eyelids, completely naked. When he was found, he was delirious, asking over and over why he had lived and the others had not. A rescuer, experienced at the task of finding bodies, later told me that she was left uneasy by the implications of the flood. Each body she uncovered was stripped. Even jewelry and tightly laced boots were torn free, breaking bones to get off if they had to. Then she found the body of a man wearing only a belt and an empty camera bag. And a twenty-four-year-old woman with a handmade silver ring on the middle finger of her right hand. The final two bodies from Antelope Canyon were never found.
To get to the Lower Canyon we had to kayak about 8 miles in until the canyon narrowed and eventually went dry.
These last two photos were taken next to where we camped at Glen Canyon and Ice Cream Canyon where we kayaked the next day.
I started the day with these words:
Today we conclude what two days ago we began. It’s early here. The sun is just a golden glow behind showy mountains and water at a distance. The air is cool, for this I find myself lucky. We could be or maybe rather should be up and out of our tents preparing the kayaks for the next adventure. Yesterday we found ourselves launching from Antelope Point and eventually ending up at Antelope Canyon. Today the plan is to launch from camp at Lone Rock hitting Lone Rock and Ice Cream Canyon. My bones are sore. My mind is tired. I’m relaxed. I’m at peace. So this is vaguely how it feels to explore Glen Canyon in all its winding, hidden glory. I float on top of a world decades ago buried and hidden. That world’s past has been swallowed up in depths that are now a mystery. Mystic waters that should not be, blanketing an ignorance for us to play on; are you happy or do you weep? The sun is rising now it is over the distant mountains, bouncing off the water and our buried past. I step out of the tent.
I realize as I type up this journal entry that it needs a bit of an explanation. Glen Canyon is man made from the damming the Colorado River just before the Grand Canyon. In so doing, we buried an almost uncountable number of Navajo ruins and some of their most sacred sites. We also forever buried the evidence and mystery behind Everett Ruess’ disappearance. Glen Canyon Dam was a mistake; it should have been Dinosaur National Monument.
In the morning I am leaving for Capitol Reef National Park to spend time with some good friends that are camping in the area over the next couple weeks.
I will try to post other adventures sooner than later.