We hiked the Buckskin Gulch in Southern Utah this Thanksgiving weekend. The first semi-scary situation came when we were dropped off at the trail head by Susan the shuttle woman. It was godamn cold and after I had oversome the initial shock of freezing in a desert, I wailed, 'Aunty, please come back and take me!' My fellow hikers thought I was being obnoxious (as usual) and paid no heed to my sufferings. I pulled out chemical hand warmers from my backpack (to be used in emergencies only) and tore open the cover in a psychopathic frenzy while jumping up and down violently shaking my frozen fingers. All this before I had even started the hike.We walked into the longest slot canyon in the world, the Buckskin Gulch. I truly believe that claim and I can't tell you how much mental preparation is required to make sure you dont get claustrophic and bury yourself in the canyon out of sheer panic that it might never end. It's tiringly long, achingly deep and extremely narrow. In places we had to remove our backpacks, inhale and squeeze sideways. Its also jawdropping surreal and extremely exquisite. The walls tell tales of erosion, flash floods and beauty. Its almost a spiritual experience. If you look hard, you can spot pertoglyphics (ancient rock art by Anasazi settlers). There are times when you can't see the sky through the 500 feet tall sandstone walls. Like ants carrying their food through long burrows inside the earth, we plodded on as every part of our body ached. Starts off with the calf muscles, moves over to your hips and then to the right shoulder. By the end of it, you are one big vessel of pain and it doesn't matter any more. You might as well get that rock and throw it on your left shoulder so that there is some equilibrium.
I am also convinced that I live for these moments.
Like the moment I got into the car after the hike and said, 'Turn on the heater, quick!'
The moment my hiking buddy says, 'I'll go into the shower first!' and I think of that extra fuel that could be used on him at this point.
The moment we saw a real meal after days of eating above mentioned Luna bars and bellowed at the waitress,' You forgot to add olives on this pizza!'
After hiking relentlessly for miles, the minute we all sat in the car, no one wanted to volunteer to get out and fill gas. It suddenly seemed like the most daunting task ever.
As you can tell, I couldn't have asked for a better vacation. Proof is in my limp.