The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Past Due.... Part 2

When we awoke on Wednesday morning it was clouded over and soon the rain would start. This was actually a blessing since we were running low on water and the spring that we were planning on retrieving water from didn't look all that inviting. We all sat under a ledge near our camp and set cups and pans out so the water could drip into them from the overhang.

Look close , this ruin has two levels
 By the time we sufficiently boiled enough water to make the 6-7 mile hike out, the rain stopped. The hike out was great, we stopped at many ruins and had much more time than the previous day to thoroughly check them out. Once back at the van, we drove a while to get set up for the next day's adventure, but we still had a little more time for a quick little outing.

O'Neil  coming out of a kiva

AF inside  the kiva

for grinding down corn
 We saddled up our bikes and headed for Short Canyon. The bikes were necessary due to the roughness of the road used to access the canyon. True to it's name the section we did was short, but sweet. Towards the exit there was a nice panel to view before climbing to the canyon rim and back to the bikes. The sun was setting about the time we reached the rim and we arrived at camp around dusk. That evening we were able to build a small fire and relax for a short time before going to bed.

This water can sometimes be nasty

.As luck would have it, mother nature would not cooperate with us for the big day we had planned for ourselves., it was raining.  We had our sights set on Cheesebox Canyon, a long 8-9 hour day all down in the canyon. A flash flood was definitely possible and the ten mile bike ride on the primitive roads would have been hell. I'm not sure if the gang thought it would be possible to make the trek, but when I saw how muddy the parking spot/ camp was I started packing my shit to get the hell out of there immediately. My hope was Moab would be better, so we headed there. We arrived in mid afternoon, to our delight  it was sunny and hot. AF, O'Neil and my self would pack up our packrafts, ropes and harnesses for a multi-sport trip down the Medieval Chamber, Morning Glory Arch and paddle back to camp near Moonflower Canyon on the Colorado River.

Setting up for  Medieval and  Morning Glory

I'll let you figure this one out

Into the Medieval Chamber
Young Tim decided to ride his bike instead, still a great choice considering the multitude of fantastic trails in the area, it's Moab after all, it's almost impossible not to have fun doing something. It was perfect for us as well, he dropped us off at the top of the canyon on sand flats road and we met up at camp later. The trip down Medieval and Morning glory was just as awesome as the year before. After the long hike down Negro Bill Canyon we simply walked across the road to the river, aired up the boats and got in. Initially the current was fast and we were have a blast cruising through the riffles of the Colorado.  As we got closer to camp the last few miles were slow and a little headwind was making progress tough. We watched the sun set from our boats and the last rays of the day light up the La Sal's eastern slopes. We arrived at camp in the dark, Young Tim just happened to be near the bank of the river which helped us locate the campground on the other side of the tall vegetation. Once on land we had no time to waste. It was close to 9 o'clock and the three of us on the river were hungry and salivating at the thought of a large Mexican dinner. We quickly deflated the boats and drove to town for a hot meal.

Morning Glory Arch

Colorado River headed towards Moab 

Friday was our last day to play, it's always a somber thought knowing you have to head back to reality. The day before, the three of us got stalled out waiting for a guided group in front of us to complete the rappels. The guide was really cool and told us about another canyoneering trip that would fit into our time frame the next day. The name rang a bell with some of the info I had in "The Oracle" ( my messenger bag filled with maps) that I printed off the internet. Without really reading into the route we headed out. AF and I stuck together on this one while O'Neil and Young Tim hit the MTB trails. Rock of Ages  aka Pool Arch was a short lolly pop route with some big raps. We did a short ride down a sandy road, ditched the bikes and started heading up into a narrow weakness in the rock filled with vegetation. It was an absolutely beautiful day and the scenery was fantastic. I little ways in front of us was a guided canyoneering group, we didn't want to get suck behind them like the day before so we hustled up to the top of the first rappel in front of them. Upon setting up,  it was apparent that our 200' rope set as a double line was about 75 feet short.

Pool Arch

Long way down

Rap #2 about 60 feet
We now looked like a couple imbeciles to the guides who had just shown up. Right about that time I got my printed piece of paper and read in detail about the route.... hmmm ...says here we need 2  200 foot ropes..... ooops my bad. The guides were pretty cool and didn't laugh at least to our faces, they suggested we tie in to the anchors, drop a single line and they would disconnected it after we were down and throw the rope. With our tail's between our legs we did just that. The rap was awesome, my highest at about 175'. We were a little nervous now wondering if our rope was long enough for the last rap listed at a solid 100'. We had one 60 footer before the last rap that dropped us into a small pool....this one was fun. When we got to the final rap it was my turn to go first, AF and I alternate to share the danger of being the first one on the rope. Neither of us will do anything we think is too dangerous and will back shit up if we need to to feel safe, even if it means leaving protection behind (protection;  ie. webbing, nuts, etc.). On this route we did end up leaving webbing to lengthen our usable rope, which was not touching the ground when it was attached to the permanent anchors at the top of the drop. It was fun, but also the last one of the trip.
Last rap of the trip , 100 '

View from the bottom

The Oracle 
When I got back to the van I really, really did not want to leave. I dreamed of calling home, telling Lynn to pack up the boys and whatever else, and come out here to stay. When O'Neil and Young Tim got back to the van from their ride we packed up and headed for home. We stopped one last time in Fruita for quick ride on Horsethief  before driving through the night.        

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