There is sun in m face, finally! I am warm, I am so warm that I’ve striped almost naked to give my skin the chance of feeling this sun all over, and my body is soaking it up and saving it in all pores. It feels so very good. I love how much more I can appreciate this after the last couple of days… it makes me laugh inside.
My day had already starts hopeful with seeing little patches of blue sky that already make my psyche jump. Then I start off with a steep hike up and over a more narrow and not as high section of the Goose Neck loop. It saves me four miles of paddling and once I get to the other side the sun is high enough for me to drop all my gear and chill on the cliff next to the river for a while. The day continues just as good. Here is a little impression into what it looked like on the river.
I am now at Spanish Bottom. No, thats not a mood – although I could imagine what that one is like – but a place. It is becoming a very good place for me, as I am finally finding some peace and time and quiet, not just in my surrounding, but within myself too.
The sun has just disappeared behind the red rock cliff in front of me. I am sitting on my mat, with my sleeping back behind me and the only sound I can hear is the wind in the cottonwood tree behind me, the occasional high chirp of a bird and the far rumble of water, of rapids downstream, where Cataract Canyon begins.
When I look to my left, there is my companion, the brown and muddy Colorado River, still lazily flowing towards a problematic adolescence (Cataract Canyon) that is followed by a tough time of boundaries, yet feeling the urge to go wild (Lake Powell). But here is where the last moments of childhood shine. On the far side of the river, the red rocks tower high, their tips, where the sun still reaches them, shining in a bright orange, and below there is the distinct line of the shadow that is cast on them from the rocks on this side of the river. But ever so slowly, the sun is letting go, and they are sinking into a grayer shade.
To the right of me there is the Spanish Bottom, a wide salt bed from an ancient sea called the Paradox Formation. Grey brush, specks of green grass and golden firn. All low on the ground with only a few dead trees sticking their black helpless arms up into the sky. A somber sight, solitary and yet peaceful.
I am grateful for this day of sun and blue sky. I had missed the color so much in the last couple of days and finally, the blue sky is back and the sun has given me a good warm hug, making everything better.
Again, I will go to sleep early. I am getting used to that now, sleeping for 10 to 12 hours seems to be the best way for my body to recover.
Tomorrow Tex’s Riverways, from up in Moab, will come down here with their motorized boat to drop off three other hikers. They will take my packraft and the gear that goes with it back to Moab and Kerri will then ship it to me at a resupply point further downriver. To be honest, I am not so sad to see the boat go for a few days. I am really looking forward to hiking. Not only because it is a movement I am more used to and feel more comfortable in, but also because I will feel much more free. The confined space of that rubber boat, has made every stop a major hassle in this weather. First I had to find a good landing place, then hurl my gear off, usually stepping or sliding in the mud and then, once I am done, riggings the boat up again. Because I was not particularly interested in doing all this, I usually just didn’t take breaks, which made my days long and strenuous and then all I wanted to do in the evening, is sleep.
I am hoping for this day to be the start of a few good and lonely days to come up here in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. I can certainly use more sun and my legs are so happy to be moving again. They particularly hated to be stuck in the boat. Also, my arms and shoulders can use some rest. I loved digging into the water at times though, making a steady rhythm, with my pulse raising high at times so I could stay warm. But now that the sun has said good night, it is getting chilly and I just crawl into my sleeping bag too.