Monday, 18 July 2011

Making My Way Home - Part 3 of Canyon Diary

I have spent the last two days complaining about the trials and tribulations of the Canyon, the cold water, the river that was deeper and faster than comfortable, the nights which were longer and colder than I expected. But before you start to think that all I do is complain, I will say that the Canyon after all the rain had a beauty for beyond that which you would expect in a desert.

The carpets of flowers were a highlight of my day.

I have many people comment to me about hiking and ask "Why do you do it for fun?". It's a little more complicated than just getting from one place to another, it's being in places that so few people see and experience. I feel like Neil Armstrong when he placed the first human footprint on the moon. All the training, all the pain, giving up your comfortable bed and sleeping on the cold ground - all fades when you look up and see a cliff face or a still pond with a mountain reflected in it.

Watching a sunset and then counting the stars come out. I have quoted this song so many times before, but I can't help feeling part of something that's Indescribable.
"From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colours of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name."

But I think I should explain what a day is like during a long hike. 
Starting in the morning is cold and gathering everything up is a task which takes team work. Simple things like stuffing your sleeping bag back into it's bag takes time, deflating your pillow, folding your survival bag (without sand) it not quick work. All this while getting a cuppa java, something to eat and different morning ablutions. 

  Eventually everyone is ready, joints are creaking and we start, making sure that the camp site looks like we were never there. I can not say "disappointed" (I have another word, but Mom will wash my mouth with soap if I use it) I was this year by the number of people who left burnt trash and tin foil. After 1000 people have gone through the canyon, it's those who are so selfish that are going to ruin places of such perfect beauty. If you left your trash on the trail - SHAME ON YOU FOR WANTING TO RUIN THIS!
While you walk with a group, there are large parts of the day you spend alone. I map out plans for my life, blog posts, conversations relived (things I wish I had or had not said) and coming to terms with parts of my life that need work. I talk to myself, to God, sing songs about my surroundings and even nursery rhymes.

Each step takes you to a place on a road that gets you further from the start and actually back to the beginning. Your feet hurt, your bag sometimes feel like part of your body and then 5 minutes later it feels like you have 2 baboons copulating on your back! Sometimes I feel a little dried up, like this poor fellow!

The third day got us to Palm Springs, the site of the sulphur hot springs. The water pumping out the ground has an average temperature of about 70Cel. Many like to stop and spend some time swimming in the warm waters, treating aches and pains. I hate the smell, I only stop to take a photo and then stop further down the path for a lunch, a very important meal to ensure you have enough strength to make it through the afternoon.
Palm Springs - If you look carefully you can see the steam coming off the water
There are some essential things for a pleasurable hiking experience. Firstly, good footwear - spend as much money and time as you can afford to find the perfect pair. Your boots are not for looking at - keep the Jimmy Choos for that.

Secondly, a good medical aid kit. I am continually surprised by people who pack shampoo and conditioner - I even seen hair gel and aftershave lotion, and then a medical aid kit with nothing more and a crepe bandage and 4 plasters.

Thirdly, good food and snacks. I have made it a priority to ensure that the food we eat leaves us with warm hugs in out stomachs, and not just something we shove down our throats to add calories. I have a whole section dedicated to hiking recipes - click here for some good ideas to try.

We found a split level beach apartment for our third over night stop. We used the lower level as an open plan kitchen and living room and bedrooms on the first floor.

This is another important way when hiking on hikes were there are no huts or dedicated stops. Plan how many hours or kilometres you need to cover in a day, but if you find the perfect place a little early or later - be inspired, you'll be much happier spending the night in a comfortable spot, rather than staying to a very strict schedule.
  The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.


Tuinmeisie said...

so love reading about your adventure, Rose. God really made His creation so beautiful.

Sam said...

So nice to read about your hike, as a very keen hiker I have always wanted to do the Fish (my sister is on it this week). It also looks pretty tough. Its always nice to make the odd gourmet hiking meal along the way.

Jeanne said...

LOL - LOVE your description of sharing a sleeping bag - I think that is how Nick and I would fare in one bag too!! As for your backpack feeling like 2 baboons copulating on your back - ROTFLMAO!!!

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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