Thursday, March 31, 2011


The water bottle froze again last night, judging from the thickness of the ice layer, it must have been really cold. I could also tell from Nate, his teeth were chattering again in the darkness of the tent. We woke up in the shadows of cottonwood trees, with no warmth from the sun it was a quick breakfast again.

Today was the last day and we had about five miles to hike back out to the shuttle car. Our first ruin was “Perfect Kiva”, here the park service strengthened the roof with plywood and covered it with dirt again, so it resembles the way it use to look a thousand years ago. With a wooden ladder made out of tree branches, one is able to crawl down into the dark enclosure. Photographing in there might cause a bit of a bit of a challenge. I tried a few shots at a higher ISO which seemed to bring out the dark details a little better.

The group must have spent close to an hour there, before setting off on the final push to the top. It was a relatively flat walk for two miles until you reach the slickrock, there you start a steep climb on the left side scrambling up small cliffs. Within a quarter mile we had worked our way up over six hundred feet. I could tell this was taking its toll on Ruth Ann, who was still struggling with a heavy pack on a sore ankle. Paul thought it best if Dave and I pushed on ahead to the car; we had several miles still to go and a shuttling of the vehicles to get both of them at the take out of the canyon.

We jumped on that idea since it would save time for all. Besides we were always way up ahead and would wait for the rest of the group to catch up, this way we would have plenty of time to get the other car. We followed the stream bed up the steep walled canyon until we arrived at a frozen waterfall. Ruth Ann would never make it up this, we though and ran back with the news. The only way up for them was off to the left on a terraced sandstone climb past the ice. Dave and I decided to try the frozen way up, it just looked inviting!

Once up we just plowed forward on what felt like a never ending march back to Dave’s waiting car. We pilled in and went to pick up the other vehicle six miles to the north at the Rangers Station. Half an hour later we were back, walking down the path again to see if we could spot the rest of the group. There they were at the final section of hill climb, so we ran down and grabbed her pack for the remaining push to the car.

Nate has left some cold beers in the back of Dave’s SUV, which was a welcomed sight for all.

Paul, Ruth Ann and Elizabeth took off shortly afterwards; they had hotel reservations in Denver, seven hours away. The rest of us looked at each other and decided it wasn’t worth the long drive back to Salt Lake. Recapture lodge in Bluff, with a dinner at the restaurant across the street sounded much better.

Richard Boyer Coeur

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