Monday, October 28, 2013

Connecting Clues from Across the Country

Escaping wet weather in arches
Excitedly driving toward clear skies ahead!
We arrived at Beautiful Bryce canyon just as the gray drizzle turned into big fat drops. At least we didn’t’ have to drive in the rain much, but we did have to endure some cold dampness to see any sights. We waited in the visitor center with about a hundred other pancho-clad park visitors, mostly senior citizens. After studying the map for a while, and taking a quick drive to view the Hoodoo’s, we got in our car to dry off, warm up and flee to Zion National Park.
I had been to Zion last November, but this was Amil’s first time, so I knew we could easily spend an extra day there. Although our quick view of Bryce left us wanting more—all us desert folk really wanted was to bake on some rocks. And all we had had the opportunity to do so far was shrivel in the rain.
Our drive to Zion was spent hoping at every turn that we would see a glimpse of sun poking through the expansive gray sky. But every mile closer solidified the fact that we were going to Eeyore our way through this whole trip. 
We arrived in time to secure a campsite—and this time, the rain stopped as we pulled in, allowing the darkened rocks to pop against the whitening sky. Eventually we even saw patches of blue to contrast the rocks.
We utilized the opening sky to dry out our tent, and even laid out some of our clothes. I hiked a few miles along the river as Amil relaxed at the campsite, both of us preparing our morning routes.
As the sun started to set, just as we were getting used to this no-rain thing, some big fat drops started to fall on my journal as I sat at the picnic table planning my route. The rain drove Amil to the car and me to the tent. I noticed the increasing volume of rain starting to run under the tent, sure to get between the footprint and our tent making the bottom wet, so I started to dig little channels for it to go under. Eventually though, we just had to get out in the rain and move the tent, then dive back in for another night spent sleeping under the pitter patter of rain, with wet clothes at our feet, happy to have dry sleeping bags and each other to keep warm.
In the morning I went on a quick hike up the Watchman trail, asking Who watches the watchmen in my head the whole way, then ran down it. From the top I could see the altocumulus thinning out, showing that there was still moisture in the air, but not enough to pour down. Amil and I packed up the site and went off on our own routes- he on Angel’s landing which I had challenged myself to do before but didn’t need to do again, and me up Observation Point.
Amil hiked Angel’s landing barefoot and ran down, meeting many people with many different reactions along the way- some cheered, some laughed, some looked inspired. My trail was equally inspiring until the part where the accumulation of water had covered the trail, and about 20 people who had previously stranded on an island farther up the mountain were attempting to cross the roaring waters, about 5 feet wide to where I stood. I decided not to get wet, and turned around to do the Hidden Canyon trail, until that, too ended in a water crossing.
It was really special being in an area, like all of Utah, really, that is especially known for the sun and the bright rocks, and to be there at a time where you can really feel and understand the power of water.  As much as I appreciated the water, I craved the sun. My hike was an incredible balance of soft mist, light drizzle, and warm sun rays, and as I climbed I emerged into and through clouds. When I got back to the campsite was when it really started to clear up, and we left all our stuff out again, to dry.  This time, it held off and we went to sleep dry for the first time in days.

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