01 December, 2010

Down to Rio Colorado!

backdate: 28/29 November

With our packs safely stashed by the bank of Hermit Creek, we set off to the Colorado. Hermit Creek canyon is certainly worth exploring. Two pools would be excellent places to cool off in summer. Sandstone layers become more visible, and minerals seep from between them like too much jelly squeezed edgewise from a peanut butter sandwich. Further downstream, huge chunks of sandstone that fell from cliffsides lie on edge, testament to the ever-changing nature of this stone.

The trail crossed the creek so many times i lost count, and Marcus leaped nimbly across stepping stones to avoid soaking his socks (he made the trip wearing sandals). We took turns pointing out things - a damselfly clinging to a trailside shrub, unique colors in the rock. 

At last the 1.3 mile trail grew indistinct in a network of sandy dry stream-paths, rushes, and tamarisk shrubs. We could hear its rush close by, then over a tangle of boulders it was visible. Marcus and i settled on separate rocks to wait our companions and mull on things a while. Somehow the river's roar over Hermit Rapids, so loud all around me, vanishes in a daydream, in a certain clarity. Reaching the bottom of the Grand Canyon - a place i hadn't dreamed of visiting in the near future; in fact, never really planned to see, let alone experience in this way - lent a new sense of life's possibility. And while the reflection had a certain distance to it, while dreaming big no longer seemed so preposterous, there was an intimacy to the space, a sense of wild solitude that drew me inward rather than out. Against all of which the occasional airliner streaking silver overhead seemed an odd non-sequitur.  

image © Marcus Collado (used by permission)

We passed a quieter, though chillier night at Hermit Creek, savoring beans, sausages, and after washing dishes in the creek, a round of powdered apple cider. Not bad stuff actually; in the morning ever-inventive Marcus used some to add an apple-raisin twist to his instant oatmeal.

Speaking of Marcus, in addition to thanking him fo his friendship and for the permission to use some of his pictures from the hike, i should take a moment to point out his blog, Nature is the Teacher