Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, March 28

Back again in Salt Lake City and its snowing!

We had a fun trip hiking around Grand Gulch. Tuesday night we arrived at one of the only motels in Hanksville and waited for the other members to arrive from Denver. Paul and Ruth Ann both professors at the University of Kansas had driven halfway the night before. On the way in Boulder, Colorado they picked up Elizabeth, a freelance writer for Back Packers Magazine. They finally showed up at the dusty motel as the sun was setting and we all went out to one of the only restaurants in town. After socializing through a few bottles of wine in the hotel room, it was fairly early to bed that night in preparation for our morning drive down to the Kane Ranger Station on Cedar Mesa.

The drive was longer than we thought and we didn’t arrive to our desolate parking lot until eleven, then we were forced to sit though a video presentation of the do’s and don’ts of hiking in the canyon. After the half hour car shuttle we were ready to start the ascent into Grand Gulch right there from the Kane Ranger Station. The Ranger warned us that the night time temperature at his trailer home out back was ten degrees. I cringed, maybe with all my cloths on in the sleeping bag I could keep warm through the night.

We started our walk down the gulch with snow still lingering in the shadows of the rock. Within an hour we heard a yelp and ran back; Ruth Ann, Paul’s wife had twisted her ankle and seemed to be in a lot of pain. Suddenly a concerned look spread over everyone’s face. Was this going to be the end of the trip? I was thinking to myself, maybe this might mean a warm hotel room for the night. It was short lived.

Ruth waited a bit and decided to go on. With the help of some walking poles she was able to keep the weight more on the other foot. We had about seven miles to hike that afternoon and she insisted. It wasn’t the best way to keep a sprained ankle from becoming the size of a basketball.

As Ruth took her time going down with Paul as her aid, some of us pushed on a bit to explore where some of the ruins might be. Both Dave Staryer and myself tend to be Anasazi junkies, always on the look out for where they might have built a secret cliff dwelling or marks upon the rock walls. We found several on the way down and took our time looking them over as we waited for the rest to catch up. Most of the dwellings were started back in the Basketmaker period from 200 to 700 A.D. and continued on into the later Pueblo period. Then with the unfortunate droughts that came and over population, a dramatic decline in the culture and social structure forced them to build more defensively higher and higher up on the cliff walls. Sometimes to the point where we all just stared high up the sandstone wall, scratching our heads as to how they got up there. The fear of height probably wasn’t in their vocabulary.

Our camp that night was near Todie’s Canyon. We used a small foul tasting water hole to fill up the cooking pots. Water is always a big concern down there and in another month with the day time temperatures climbing up into the 90’s there would be virtuously no water left.

Richard Boyer

No comments:

Post a Comment