I had reached the saturation point with the election. The weather was supposed to be great for the next few days, and so my wife said "Get out of here" when I started to mumble "do you think maybe I could..." It felt right to vacate the coverage area while the events finally unfolded. I turned to my Project List and picked an overnighter that hadn't been crossed out yet. My wife said, "hell, take two nights." So I did.
And we're off.
The river rig. Gus is getting more comfortable (almost TOO comfortable) in this (his) boat. He tends to forget that he is sharing a small boat with me. I had to remind him (in a slightly raised voice, even) a few times. He would respond by not moving and not making eye contact.
You can see the Bowknot Bend saddle downstream there. This is where we've landed and walked over the saddle to the other side on our previous trips through here (e.g., this one).
When we arrived at the mouth of the first canyon, I was surprised to hear voices (there were no boats tied up) and the sound of a drum. It was coming from up canyon, and I couldn't see the source. There was a guy saying "Where are you now?" over and over, each time with a different inflection, all to the beat of a drum. I was thinking, "good question." Then the question shifted to "Where are you going?" Also appropriate. Gus and I walked around a little bit, and I caught a glimpse of two guys heading up canyon. It was trippy and I was tempted to holler at them just to make sure they were real.
The next morning. The sun was slow to hit us in our slightly frosted state. My sleeping bag was soaked! Gus went walkabout for sun -- I didn't see him for quite a while.
He decided to grace me with his company once the sun hit me and my third cup of instant coffee. We were both waiting for my sleeping bag to dry for quite a while.
Our first water source. This was a great one, and one to remember for future trips through this corridor.
One of the larger fossils I've stumbled upon.
This is a fantastic route out. Very aesthetic, and gets you up on top quickly. There's a rim walking section that is Grade A.
I underestimated how much wonderful slickrock walking I would do on this loop.
A Very Special Spot that I was excited to visit, and is, in fact, Very Special.
The dog whose coat was the color of slickrock.
After lots of slickrock domes, and no water pockets, we were getting thirsty. I found this spot before Gus did.
We're well on our way to the next canyon at this point.
And now we're in it, and there's great water here and there at the upper end.
Then, as sometimes happens, we get in the springs sections and avoiding the water becomes the task instead of hoping dearly there's something wet around the corner because Gus' tongue is getting huge and my lips are sticking.
And then we came to this. I see stuff every once in a while that stops me in my tracks. This was one of them. I slipped my pack off and sat and stared at this thing for a while. This is coming off the wall of an inner canyon.
We had a great second night out, sleeping in the sandy wash bottom. There was a cottonwood tree nearby that was wrapped with flash flood debris. I picked through the cottonwood, oak, and prickly pear pads, and found some pinon pine. We had a lovely little fire that did just the trick for my wet pants, socks, and shoes. Gus used my pants as a sleeping pad, which I thought was clever. A curious mountain lion spent some time in our proximity. Fresh tracks abounded.
This was a first for me -- finding a large log of petrified wood still in the rock layer. Super cool.
There was a dry section of the canyon between our camp and a mile or so downstream. Then it got wet and lovely again.
We reached the mouth of the canyon and enjoyed the serenity as I inflated our ride downriver.
We had a great paddle back to the truck. It was so very calm and we didn't see a soul. I eventually entered cell service land and took a peek and was quite surprised by the results. It was wild to wrap my head around the news as I left behind such immersive quiet.