Part 1 of 4 posts about my backpack trip to The All American Man Pictograph Panel.
I’m parked on a piece of slick rock near The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah, on The Colorado Plateau. It is 5:25 PM on October 18, 2014.
When I arrived here, the cedar gnats were swarming in full force. They were in my mouth, my hair (miraculously as it is still very, very, short at this time after I shaved it all off a couple of weeks ago), my ears, up in my pants, and the inside of my vehicle seemed to hold more gnats than the whole of Utah.
Now the gnats have gone and it’s mosquito time, and apparently idiot drivers time too.
It’s a Saturday evening, and a short distance from my peaceful piece of planet, is an area where a bunch of high speeding, noisy, dirt bikers and jeeps are gathering. The dirt bikers sound as though twenty chain saws are being run in the distance, and the dust they are kicking up is drifting over to my camp, and to all of those around me.
My little piece of heaven is just off a dirt road, which the young (I’m presuming they are young, because of the sound of “Yee Haas” and “Whoo hoo’s” and high-pitched laughs of young girls drifting my way) are flying up and down as fast as the rough washboard road will allow.
Thankfully, those sharing this piece of slickrock with me are like myself. Quiet, peaceful, and laid-back. They are parked at respectable distances from each other, and are sitting outside reading, or cleaning off their trail bikes, or carrying their tents over to a piece of sand while leaving their vehicle on a rock, so as to protect the delicate desert environment. Every now and then a head will raise (or a finger) towards the noisy, thoughtless speeders passing by.
I spent an hour or so during the gnat attack hours sorting through my vehicle and pulling out the things I need in order to go backpacking alone for four nights in The Salt Creek Canyon of Canyonlands National Park.
I’m a short person, and my backpack is a size small. I actually bought it as a technical climbing or winter hiking pack, but now use it as a backpack. I have only backpacked on my own for two nights prior to this, so four nights will be a record, and I’m not sure I can carry the weight I need to for that amount of time.
I now have all the stuff I think I need on the front seat of Mitzi, and tomorrow I’ll attempt to get it all in my small pack. I think it would be okay, except I have to carry a bear canister, which takes up about a third of my pack on its own.
Originally I had planned to do this trip with my friend Jo, but last night he made the decision not to go. The permit was already in hand and paid for, so I decided to attempt it on my own.
Sure I’m a little scared, but fear is something to squelch, step on, stare down and face full-on.
Great words eh? Now I’ve said that, I have to live up to it…
So here goes…
Getting ready for four nights of backpacking alone in the desert,
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature