LAKE POWELL (GLEN CANYON)

FALL 20

















OUTSIDE MIND

Gliding on glassy water past this grand (if inundated) landscape of the gods, desert soundworlds of Steve Roach streaming in.

Time outside mind. Mind outside time.


 

IN THE BOWELS OF HADES

There's nothing like being in trouble in a remote slot canyon to make it feel like you're passing through the bowels of Hades.

The way back is shut (how stupid can you be... Very, it turns out). Moving forward in these forsaken depths now the only option. That means negotiating a few hundred meters (hard to say with the gps signal lost) of smooth twisting sandstone paved with mud and water filled. It will end (i already know) by a long swim in stenchy, nauseating waters. But more concerning are the unknown potholes before that. Given the right (or wrong!) combination of mud and water it could prove a deadly trap. I look hard for an alternative.

Where the slot briefly opens up a rock shelf juts out from the otherwise unbroken wall, climbing in diagonal seemingly to the top. But it begins abovehead. To reach it i struggle to improvise a rig with the rope looped around a pebble hammered in a V-shaped hollow found on the wall.
Tant bien que mal (mud covered shoes offer no traction) i hoist myself onto the shelf and begin crawling between wall and precipice. One section slops dangerously with a fragile 2-finger crack and an angled foothold. Commitment is required: summoning my inner cat and treading oh so lightly, barely touching the rock. Done! As hoped for, the remainder of the shelf easily leads to the rim and out.

Whew! A narrow escape this was. I snap a selfie: the shell-shocked stare says it all.
[photo in gallery]


 

DO NOT CAPSIZE

These choppy waters move like a sea, not a reservoir!

Overnight the weather has shifted from hot summer temperatures to frigid wintry conditions. Navajo Mountain is covered in snow. Factoring the windchill we are well in sub-freezing territory. I am unprepared for such cold and have slipped on all available layers ― night clothing included.

That presents a problem. Were i to capsize i can probably climb back in the kayak and paddle to shore ― even while hypothermia sets in. Or stay in the water and swim to same. But with no change of clothing at hand, then what?

Do not capsize!