Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We woke up with frozen water bottles. Nate, Dave’s grad student was chattering from the cold. The sun was up but not shining in our camp, just a cold damp mist and as a result we had a very quick breakfast. It was a welcomed relief to hold a warm cup of instant coffee in your hands and we rapidly followed with the instant oatmeal. It’s not the most popular of breakfast choices, but due to the light weight in the backpacks, it’s the preferred method of filling your stomach in the cold morning air.

Once camp was rolled up and stuffed back into our packs, we were off working our way through the serpentine labyrinth of Grand Gulch. Our goal for that evening was Sheiks Gulch, a small side canyon seven miles down that offered a fresh flow of water from a spring. Until then it was more or less a dry hike.

Ruth Ann’s and Paul moved along at a steady pace, her ankle resembled that of a soccer ball, so the idea of climbing up vertical cliffs to look at ruins wasn’t regarded with enthusiasm. She stuck with the easily accessible ones close to the path. Dave and I, along with Elizabeth our freelance writer for “Back Packers Magazine” bolted on ahead to have time to explore potential alcoves higher up.

Almost every turn had something new, from split level structures to small granaries. As always we made sure to be careful around all ruins and to not disturb the pottery shards that were out in front. Unfortunately there has been a lot of damage from previous expeditions. The federal government had to step in and make it a federal offense to dig or mark anything up. It’s a little disappointing when you see “Billy Bob was here” next to some thousand year old Petroglyphs

I keep thinking some of these ruins would make fantastic paintings; but the problem would be selling them. Most people don’t know the area and wouldn’t be interested. I know since I’ve tried it before and still have the works to this day!

This was our snack break!

We made it into camp as the sun was still shinning, giving us plenty of time to set up and pump fresh clean water for dinner. Ruth Ann gave us at the beginning of the trip each a packet of a variety of dried meals, all of which could be reconstituted with hot water. So tonight was what she called “American Night” three different pots of rice, teriyaki chicken, vegetables and beef. And we are not talking about skimping on dessert either. We had more food then we knew what do with, but I wasn’t about to complain. I was starving. Somehow lugging around a sixty pound pack, up and down rocks can build up an appetite.

Richard Boyer

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