Again---- cinched up the backpack, excited by the view down the unknown canyon. Unknown to me anyway. Made my way down in a side drainage, got cut up by brush, saw a few late fall leaves, then it was boulder and gravel travel down the widening and deepening canyon. Soon the big views opened up, a wide valley bordered by cliffs and hoodoos, much like upper Parashant but without a road. The wash hiking was easy but tedious. The sun was out and it was warm. A few miles along and the bottom started to canyon up, and some sandstone outcrops to walk on. Petroglyphs on the rock, interesting and different. The walls rising, the wash more confined now. My research had indicated water about 9 miles in, I had a late start so planned a dry camp. I scrambled about 25 feet up to a ledge with an overhang. My first spot was packratted out, but along the ledge I found a nice depression just big enough for me, a nice undercut to store small stuff, and rocks to provide a windbreak. It was obvious the rock had spalled off but part of it seemed arranged.
I didn't care, just ready to camp in the fading light. Cook, eat, read ( Colin Fletcher's "The Man Who Walked Through Time" ) a reread, get comfortable and just sleep and starwatch.
The next morning whilst enjoying coffee and first light, packing, I noted an odd looking rock. I pulled it out of the dust and a pottery piece as big as my hand was revealed. I had thought I was alone. We are never alone; and as I clinched the shard I felt that curious genetic pull. I gently placed it back, and wondered how many more years would pass before someone else would touch this--tomorrow, or a hundred years from now??
The canyon opened and closed, broad then narrow. Waves of rock. The first Redwall came. Nice multiple shelter caves, some with solutioning and dead formations, one with big horn sheep glyphs. The walls shot up dramatically. The world is made of rock. Stark, massive, and I was progressing in the tubular passage. High drama with vaulting walls and a huge chockstone, teasing seeps and ferns.
My world changes beyond the chockstone. Water, the mini stream from the spring. The festooned walls of a cave of an old spring, with formations. Greenery, flowers, birds, trees and light. Grand compared to the naked harsh place I had been. I was dazzled.
The little stream gains volume and makes noise in small cascades. Cottonwoods and I think ash are golden and glowing. I come to the confluence and look for a campsite. I find my alcove, and set my things here. I sit and just look at the scene. Lots more water in the other canyon, have to rock hop to keep feet dry.
So hard to explain to someone how wonderful this is when you have hiked for miles in dry and tough territory. So many faces of Eden----
I wander around. I am like this if left to my own devices---ie. no hiking destination in mind. I look at the light, I crawl in a few holes, I climb a few ledges, I watch the water. I go up the canyon; I go down the canyon. I look at my maps. I wish I could quit my job.
A storm is coming. I pack up and leave the next morning early. It is a long trailess trek to the car. I find the steady elevation gain easier than coming down the canyon on the rolly polly rocks. Clouds float over my narrow vision. It's colder and a little more wind. The light is better for pics on the return hike so I am later than I like to the car. The drive out is scenic and wonderful in the light of the storm clouds. Finally I pull over to sleep in the back, the vehicle lightly rocking at time in the wind, the rain tapping to find a way in. The next day over the top in the snow, then the rain, then the non stop wonders by Lake Roosevelt and the Rainbows. Life is very good indeed. When I post pics I will include some of the travel shots if they turn out .
Of note--- in the Grand Canyon Parashant NM in the canyons and around the rims belongs to the NPS, and is subject to all of those rules and regulations. Nuff said.