Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kicking 8.5 miles in its mountain ass

My Valentines day was spent hiking in Canyonlands trying to comprehend just how small we all actually are. I forgot my camera for this hike, luckily one of the group members, Chris, brought his. Despite my complaining, I did actually pack warm enough which is a very good thing because temperatures were in the 30's for this hike.
We hiked the Syncline Loop around Upheaval Dome. The hike starts at approximately 5,700 feet up.

You spend the first mile hiking strait down over rocky terrain carefully watching where you step, stopping every so often to look up...then down...and down some more.

After dropping down from 5,700 ft to about 4,200 ft you hike along a dried up riverbed for a few miles, then back up a "short" rock staircase into one of the most breath taking valleys. I kept trying to absorb everything I saw, to commit it to memory, but it's overwhelming. Standing in the valley, with rock walls in every direction with another hiker, Julie and I stood there spinning in circles to see the view from every angle, to memorize it somehow. Words can not describe how truly awe inspiring it was.
We stopped for lunch just past the valley. Sitting on a large rock soaking up the sun while sharing and passing around treats. It's quite a community event. "Anybody want some almonds?" "Who wants Fig newtons?"

After lunch, we looked up the narrow canyon trying to figure where the trail might lead us. Rock scrambling is where it lead us. But we all looked out for each other as we began to hike strait up over boulders the size of trucks. No one left behind became our motto.

For the first 5 or 6 miles of the hike, while you are stepping from sharp rock to sharp rock, you don't really pay much attention to your feet. During the last 2 to 3 miles of the hike where the rocks were replaced with snow then a sandy river bed it felt so good I could have literally kissed the ground we were hiking on.
When we finally made it back to the cars, we were all exhausted yet celebratory for having made it back safely. I can honestly say I have never done anything like this before. Oh sure, I'll do 3 to 5 mile hikes in the mountains close to home, but they do not come close to comparing to this.

I'm quite proud of myself actually.

Spoiler Alert: In my next post I will show you what an Indian Dick looks like, Ranger Lee and a really big rock balancing on practically nothing. Will the wonders of Moab never cease?

Blogfully yours,


kel said...

Dude, seriously beautiful!

Frank said...

When you said hiking, I pictured smooth gentle girly trails, not boulder scrambling. You da man!!! I mean da woman!!! I have a new respect for you and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

AHHHH!!! BOOB-POPPIN' situation is all I see!
Im glad you got those puppies safe back home!
Love you!

Jeremy said...

Awesome! Now I am really excited to go down!

Anonymous said...

DUDE! where is yesterday's AND today's post???? ... did you have weather situation at your place to... was the floor slippery???
Zippy and Pearl for life!