Spring Break

Spring break is finally here. Yes, all my teachers gave me extra homework because I would have so much spare time, but I am still excited about having a week off from my sometimes hectic class schedule. This week I got a few more scholarships, giving me $10,000 toward college expenses this year. This makes me happy.

I will vacation in the Beehive State. Right now I am lying on a bed in a Days Inn in Moab, Utah, stiff and sore after hiking/scrambling/rappelling 14 miles through a slot canyon 100 miles outside of town in desert country. Before that, Jonathan and I spent two days in Zion National Park in southwest Utah. Zion is a spectacular place and I won’t bore you with the details. We hiked Hidden Canyon one day—a spectacular slot canyon, and on Day 2 we hiked up Angels Landing, which is a remarkable hiking trail in that the trail crosses a narrow ridge with a 1200 foot cliff dropping off on each side. I think Zion is probably one of the most spectacular National Parks in the US of A.

Today we hiked Blue John slot canyon. A slot canyon is a narrow canyon, often only a shoulder-width wide with walls sometimes several hundred feet tall. A few years ago Aron Ralston got his hand stuck under a rock in this canyon and had to saw off his hand with his pocket knife in order to escape. Blue John is out in the middle of nowhere, over one hundred miles from the nearest town if you don’t count Hanksville, pop. 360, which is 57 miles away and Green River, pop. 900, 68 miles away. We camped out in the desert in order to get an early start in the morning. Today was sunny and in the upper 70’s. Blue John is a neat canyon. We had to wade two knee-deep potholes but the rest of the canyon was dry. Several miles of this canyon was barely wider than my shoulders. Canyoneering is quite strenuous because it’s necessary to climb up over jams, rappel down drops using ropes and stem-climb walls by resting your back against one side and ‘walking’ up the slot. One place we had to stem 100 feet up to clear a series of drop-offs, I was quite exhausted and nearly blacked out. We ran out of water although we started with one gallon of water each. However, the scenery was well worth the efforts. We walked through lots of carved channels with intricate designs and went past the place Aron Ralston was stranded but failed to find the exact spot. One slot was pitch dark at noon because of the tall, narrow canyon walls. Everyone should do this at least once in their lifetime.

The remainder of the week we plan to spend in Moab, Utah. I love Moab with all its red rock and nice restaurants. We plan to do some mountain biking here, but tomorrow will be mainly recovery from today’s adventure. I want to climb a tower in Arches National Park outside of town so maybe that would be a good way to rest my hiking muscles tomorrow. Whatever happens, Moab is awesome as usual with warm summer temps. Well, I’ve written enough to bore anyone again… I’ll catch up later.