Hiking with a Stranger

26 May 2012 in Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling


Last month Lindsay noticed an ad in the local paper seeking a hiking partner. The ad stated the partner would be paid $60/day to carry equipment and water. The hikes were in a great area just north of us and so I decided to respond. After much correspondence via email and later on the phone I was offered the “job” and definitive plans were made.

Lindsay initially had to work, but later — as her schedule seems to do — her day off changed and she was able to join us for the first night and next day. We met the gentleman in Kanab where he had motel reservations. After showing us the room he had booked us we went and had an amazing diner at a little bistro. This sounds fancy, but Kanab is really just a small, touristy town and we were completely surprised first by the vegetarian portion of the menu and then by the quality of the dishes. I had tofu tacos topper with guacamole, feta and an amazing mango salsa. Lindsay had a stir fry which was equally great. Later we would fine some kind of appeasement to vegetarians must have been made in this town because almost every single restaurant had an extensive vegetarian menu. All of the ads actually boasted it, even the ones that obviously specialized in meat.

This would not be the first surprise though. Later when we returned to our motel, the Parry Lodge, we found out they showed old western films in an old barn situated in the middle of the parking lot. Apparently several westerns were filmed in the Kanab area and the original motel proprietors made there living off of providing for the stars and the film crew. The lobby of the motel was composed of wall to wall autographed head shots of every one from John Wayne to Don Knotts. We watched Fury at Furnace Creek and it was actually a pretty good movie with an interesting plot.

Houserock Valley RoadThe next morning we were supposed to get permits to hike a specific area that shall be known hence forth as Wonderland. (This area shall remain nameless to preserve it’s anonymity and keep the number of visitors relatively low). Unfortunately they were out of permits for the day so we had to develop a quick Plan B. We ended up hiking Wire Pass.

This hike was beautiful. After an initial hike of a half mile or so you enter the first of multiple slot canyons. These are narrow passages of curved rock which were shaped by water. Some are so narrow you can barely squeeze through. Since it was so hot, this change in plans was a blessing. In these slots you’re more often than not in shade and as we descended deeper the air was noticeably cooler.

Buckskin Gulch PetroglyphsAt the intersection of Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch we came upon the beginnings of a giant arch. In the soft sand within the arch several people left their mark. It was a wall of graffiti, pointless and disgusting amongst such beauty. Why people feel the need to leave their name I’ll never understand. Nobody knows who you are and nobody cares. Further down though we discovered the ancient graffiti of native americans. This I was more amused by. At first we questioned its authenticity, since it was feet away from the aforementioned wall, but on our way out we met a ranger who verified that it was real and roughly over 700 years old.

Buckskin GulchAfter the turn and an open area the slot continues. Apparently the entire slot is over 40 miles long. Here we saw much of the same. I don’t say this to demean it’s grandeur, there’s just so many ways to describe a slot canyon. To truly understand you have to experience it.

After awhile we decided to turn back. On our drive out we made a few stops along the dirt road we had taken back and explored some of the mineral painted mounds along the road. Some of which offered strikingly long views of the landscape around us. Then we drove down 89 a little ways and wandered around another unmarked turnoff. Here a giant slab of rock had been driven up at an angle into the air forming a natural fin, just sloped enough to ascend which we all did.

As the day came to a close Lindsay headed to Greenehaven and my partner and I went back to Kanab. And after a garbanzo sandwich, some chips and salsa, and a couple of tall Coors I hit the hay.

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