When I woke my tent was covered in frost. I looked out at the canyon walls to the east, waiting for the sun to poke through and bring some warmth, but no luck this morning. Sometimes the world is too tall, even for the sun.
Instead I pack lazily, sipping on hot coffee and then hit the old 4×4 jeep road that would take me up Hurrah Pass. The road is graded for vehicles, so the walking is easy and without much effort I gain the pass where a small group of ATVers have collected. When I tell one of the men what I’m doing I can see him eye my pack, sceptically.
“Got everything you need in there?” He says, and I explain how I’m able to resupply myself along the way, but that yes, everything I need is in there. I said it confidently, but I suspect he took me for a liar anyway.
Down and around I went, passing the murky Colorado River and taking from it 5 liters of water since I’ve got 20 miles before I can pull from its shores again.
After lunch the Hayduke leads me off the 4×4 road I and into a small little canyon, moist from the recent rains.
Inside me, something stirs.
Suddenly, I’m very deep in what feels like wilderness and I’m alone and there’s no path on the ground to lead me along.
A little fear-plant, blooming–what is it?
Given the right nutrients and setting will it sprout roots, leaves, flowers and all–just like a desert plant?
Was this seed sown long ago, and by whom?
What should I call this species, for certainly it must be one of many lying dormant within me? I spent an hour trying to answer that question. And again, an hour.
I climb out of the canyon and back onto another jeep road, twisting along into the late afternoon.
As the sun was going down I spied a peninsula of land off to the west with a fine line towards the sunset. I made camp right on the edge of Canyonlands Nation Park and was treated to one of the finest vistas I’ve ever seen. The quiet grows until all thats left is a subtle mechanical buzzing in my ears, and finally the cawing of two birds, flying away against the dark of the canyon walls.