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to blow a whistle that I had brought along just for this purpose. It’s shrill sound reverberated back from the rocks and buttes, as if mocking my pleas for help. I was careful to drink often from my water bottles, but my water supplies were starting to dwindle. I was now down to my last gallon jug and the next spring was still a few miles away. When we planned this trek, we designated a site near the Colorado River for our second night. My plan now was to reach this designated base camp on the Colorado. With any luck I would find my companions there, waiting for me. For the moment, though, another much needed rest break was in order, under the sparse shade of a Utah Juniper tree…

The sun was very hot on this day. In the 90 degree heat the weight of my 40-pound pack was nearly unbearable. I plodded along all morning and into the sweltering summer afternoon, stopping occasionally in

I resumed my trek across the Esplanande under the merciless midday sun. My water supplies were now dangerously low as I approached the top of the Redwall Formation, a natural limestone barrier separating the upper and lower regions of the Canyon. It was a pretty steep descent through the Redwall — sheer verticals and a “chimney” or two which required me to remove my pack and lower it down with some cord that I had brought along. I clambered down after it, hoisted it again onto my back and continued on. I was now out of water, my feet were sore, and I was feeling hot and tired. I really needed to make that next spring soon. According to my topographic map it was less than a mile away. Plodding along through a dusty valley suddenly I saw the spring in the distance shooting out of the limestone. I dropped my pack mid stride and made a beeline for the spring. I didn’t even bother to filter it — I was that parched. Cold water never tasted so good!

After a couple more hours of hiking I caught my first glimpse of the Colorado River — and it was gorge-ous! From this vantage point it looked merely like a muddy ditch — an optical illusion to be sure. I now felt more confident that I would accomplish my goal, and was certain that I would soon be united with my hiking companions. Another hour or two and I would be at base camp. And despite the hardships of this journey, the rewards were fast becoming apparent. The beauty of the scenery before me was breathtaking! I felt at one with Nature in this desert environment, and a peacefulness beyond words soon engulfed me (read more…)