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    Backpacking with Rakesh (Utah)

    - draft
    2000/05
    -  +
    .First Posted: June 7, 2004.

     
    trail, Greater Zion (Utah) Rakesh, Greater Zion (Utah) I barely had my red backpack, and Rakesh rented one, so we were set. I read about the trail in a "trails less traveled" type of hiking book. Friday night we got kind of close when we camped in a windy campground by a river. In the morning we entered Utah. It was a Saturday and most of the population was dressed very nicely -- it reminded me of Europe. Why on a Saturday? As i later found out, these were the Amish parts.

    We started on the trail with big packs, carrying over 2 gallons of water each. The trail was soon to head through a canyon, but you just never know about water in the desert. Better to bring it along. We started in mid-afternoon ... sometimes time flies. We crossed a stream once, continued along the bank, then continued in the narrowing canyon. Walls rose high left and right. We tried going on steep uphill on the right -- just for kicks -- maybe there is something above. It was hard balancing the 40lb packs and sliding on uneven terrain. Eventually we reached a high place with no clear line to continue. Just big rocks leading to rock walls. Once down, we followed what looked like a side-trail -- another canyon. There was sand ahead, and by instict i avoided it, but after turning around, Rakesh walked through. Or tried. He started to sink and yell. I couldn't help him before taking my pack off, or we both would be in there. He took his pack off during the struggle. He was never more than knee-deep, but he fell forward at one point too. He got out ok, and we backtracked to the main canyon trail. We reached a dead end of the canyon, the originating source of the weak stream -- a lake. Nothing but rock walls, but there was an uphill possibility of hiking. No trail, but maybe we can get through. Not as steep as our previous attempt, but again no passage through. On the way down i took off my pack for getting past a 5ft step. Rakesh was surprisingly very maneauverable, as if his pack was 10lb lighter. Who knows, we never weighed them -- we each had 2 gallons of water, he had the 6lb tent and i had stuff like food and stove and other little things.

    We backtracked to the ledge -- a perfect spot for camping. Even if water suddenly started gushing through, we were 10ft above it all. When I discovered that the pump in my gasoline stove was broken, i poured some on some of our wood. A little later Rakesh wanted to play too, and thought it would be a good idea to pour some gasoline on the wood too -- except that we already had a fire burning that wood. I told him what's gonna happen, but stood back to watch. And of course the flames followed the path of pouring gasoline. They came way up to 5ft height before Rakesh jumped away surprised.

    canyon camping, Greater Zion (Utah) canyon, Greater Zion (Utah) The walls of the canyon covered us from the 5am waking sun, and we were comfortable until 9am. Rakesh was in the tent, i decided to take my chances with the over-estimated crawlers and biters and slept in my sleeping on the sand. Sometimes you just know that nothing will bother you at night. Since we couldn't go forward, we headed back through the canyon. There was an uphill trail we passed the previous day, and we headed for it now.

    It sure was uphill. We met few other hikers, returning on the rocky trail. Surprisingly Rakesh could no longer keep his military pace and form of the day before -- I wonder why. I was at the front now and at the eventual top I had to wait for him. The sun was strong and I knew it wasn't ideal for pictures. The difference between shadow and sunlit parts was over 2 f-stops. We have been hiking in the biggest heat, and while the scenery had potential, not everyone in our party of 2 would have liked arriving in Phoenix at 2am. I wanted to return there soon, but it's been 4 years already, and I still haven't.
    peak view, Greater Zion (Utah)
    #Pursue Passion#
    .First Posted: June 7, 2004.

     
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