On the morning of the 21st, I awoke and crawled stiffly out of my bivy sack, then made some tea and laid out my food to see what I could spare for breakfast.
Originally I was supposed to be doing this trip with a friend, but he backed out on the very last-minute and I ended up just making do with the food I had in my car. I was also cutting it a little close with what I could carry in weight. I had exactly enough for three meals a day, and one snack a day, and even those were skimpy. I ended up having an organic version of Ramen soup for breakfast, something I wouldn’t dream of eating normally.
I then went to the springs to get water, and ran into Mary and Gerry. They were in a bit of a pickle, and couldn’t make it to their allotted camp site that night, so I invited them to join me in mine. They moved all their stuff to my site, and then we set off for a walk to The All American Man pictograph panel. We’d already seen it on the way in, but it deserved a little more respect than a quick glance.
We spent some time inspecting the Four Faces Panel on the way which was close to the springs. It was then only a mile to the American Man panel from camp SC3, and once there we decided to get a better look at it. I was glad that I had someone with me. The panel was in an alcove high above my head, which had to be climbed up to. As Gerry said, if it were in our back yard we’d scramble up without giving it much thought, but when a person is in the middle of nowhere, 8-miles from the nearest (dirt) road and our cars, and 21-miles from help, and with an 1100 foot (some of it almost vertical) climb out of the canyon at the end, and maybe 40 or 6o-miles from cell phone service, it is prudent to be very cautio
The All American Man is an incredible piece of art, as are The Four Faces, because they are so unusual compared to the typical Anasazi or Fremont art found during that period. The art is 700 years old, but has a much more modern appearance, and the red, white and blue is so American, that many have argued that the art work has to be of a much younger age.
I joked that perhaps the artist had a vision of the future. He pictured big round people, with little heads, sporting red, white and blue….Hmmmmm.
After paying our respects and enjoying the day just relaxing, we headed back to camp, and hung out at the springs, where we met two other backpackers. They were young, and were going ultra-light. (I’m sorry, I’ve been in pickles where things have gone wrong, and I just don’t think its safe to go into the desert for four nights with a daypack, and a handful of cheese). I’d now met five people while down in Salt Creek, in three days.
Then my new friends and I discussed the possibility of leaving a day early. We each still had two nights left. Mary and Gerry were supposed to be in the zone that had dispersed camping, but they had problems, and there seemed to be no water out there. I had this night in SC3, and then the next night in SC2, which I truly did not want to camp in again, because it was so awful.
We decided to leave early the next morning, and hike the 9.1 miles out in one day.
That night we had a little mouse scurrying around camp. I think he paid a visit to Gerry and checked out his sleeping bag, because I heard some scuffling over there, but he didn’t get into my little safe haven.
With companionship, I found all kinds of food goodies coming my way. This morning I had oatmeal to get myself going on, far preferable to noodles. We set out later than planned, but made good time for the first 5-miles, covering the distance in 2.5 hours. Then it got hot, and we grew a little wearier, so the last four miles took longer. I think I covered it at around 1 mph. I had some blisters, so lagged behind to take care of them. Mary went way ahead while she was feeling good, Gerry left me behind when we reached the uphill part, and I plodded up on my own.
Many of you may know that I have some spinal injuries that were incurred from my first husband. He was abusive, and I’d been beaten around the head, pushed down stairs and so on. I have repeated fractures in five different disks in my back (along with many other issues). When I do things like backpacking it’s not easy for me, it often hurts a lot, but I refuse to become a couch potato and let him win, because I fear that all too soon I wont be able to do this kind of stuff, so I’m doing it now while I can. However, sometimes it causes problems.
On the hike out of Salt Creek, the weight of my pack pressing on my injured lower back, caused my right buttock and leg to go completely numb, while at the same time radiating pain, and burning. I had to undo my hip belt to get my leg working, and take all the weight on my shoulders. That, made the injuries in my neck stiffen up, and then the pack wanted to pull me backwards off the trail, and the cliffs. I hooked my hands under my back to take some of the weight, but in many spots I had to climb on all fours over rocks. (I’m only 5’ 3/4” tall).
Phew! I was pooped by the time I got to the top, about 40-minutes behind Mary and Gerry. I hadn’t lost my breath once, but I hurt everywhere. It was great to be up on the top, with a cooling wind, and a cold beer waiting in the ice chest.
This is always the best part of any kind of endurance test, or any time one faces ones fears and does it anyway… the best part is saying I DID IT, along with the feeling of safety that comes with being back. Even when one is returning to a car instead of a house, it is still wonderful to be home.
Mary and Gerry decided to leave that day and go to Moab for a shower. I camped at the trailhead again, re-sorting my gear, and taking a sponge bath from head to toe. Naked at the trail head… there was not a soul around.
I hope you have enjoyed this little adventure with me…sorry it’s so long, I just can’t resist sharing lots of pictures with you. Some of my friends are disabled, and they live vicariously through posts like this.
That sums up this little adventure. The images of the All American Man and the Four Faces are available for purchase on my web site at: Pictographs and Petroglyphs. Please feel free to share this post and the pictures on my web page, any way you choose.
Enjoy the trail.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature