Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 11 Thursday April 29th

(It's been forever, I know, nearly a year but I will finish the last few entries.)

I am now at Jacob Hamlin Arch. It's been a very long day. The winds continued and given the condition of the tent I slept in the car which was less than comfortable. The best guess is that the winds settled around two in the morning. One cool thing about the disturbed sleep was seeing the moon set low in the western edge of the sky.

Waking before 7am the air was cool and the sky was clear in the east but a bit foreboding in the west. We all had a lot of prepping to do for the next section of the journey. Eventually we were all loaded up, many kudos to Matt (a recurring theme of this trip) for helping me then and later. Drove south on Hole in the Rock Road to Redwell trail head.

Once parked, we all took a moment to stretch before heading out at 10:37am. Initially the trail was not too bad and I had a good pace but slowed a bit later. There was some serious scrambling up and down hills, which gave me pause thinking of the climb back. Along much of this there were tracks of cows (and their deposits). As I went practically crawling up some of the inclines, I kept reminding myself that if a cow did this, than I could. Nonsensical but it provided a mantra to get me through. The hike was hard and long, at least 7 miles and the last two or so were particularly trying for me as my body was hurting, my limits stretched.

There were many river crossings starting about half way into the hike which tested everyone's balance on rocks, logs, and other flotsam. In addition we discovered that Matt missed his calling as a bridge engineer. The scenery was much greener, more lush than the last few days.

As we got close to where the trails converged the canyon walls got more beautiful - rich in desert varnish, mineral deposits adding incredible depth to the expanse of rock face. In one place there was the most amazing smoky whites to dark blue-purples striping the wall randomly.

Finally we got to where Redwall and Hurricane Wash meet up - from here it was supposedly a mile, it felt (and I think was) much longer.

Finally Greg said he thought he saw a glimpse of the arch, I thought I saw it as well but I did not dare hope as I trudged along. Happily it was the arch - grand, majestic - words barely capture the visceral reaction to this awe inspiring place.

My body hurts, I'm cold. We've had dinner, the sun is starting to go down as it's after 8pm. There is so much to say about yesterday, alone all day with the howling
winds, howmuch the wind takes out of you, the incessant noise scratches at your brain. More later.

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