Jul 2, 2007

How I Found Patience

Last weekend, I went camping up near Sedona. Ever since my visit to overpopulated slide rock park, I've been thinking about "the crack," a deep watering hole which runs through a narrow slot canyon of red rock. It's a great place with cool clear water, great for jumping off the ledges and cliffs around. I've been there once, a few years ago with Chase. It was a bit of a task to find directions to the trail because its not officially called "the crack" but an offshoot off of the Bell trail along the Wet Beaver Creek in a wilderness area.

The day before, we'd gone to REI where I replaced my water cartridge filter, and got another can of fuel for my stove. Saori mentioned that they'd opened the Bass Pro Shop, and so we had to go there too, if only to check it out. They have an interior stream stocked with fish, a massive fish tank, and an indoor climbing wall and archery range. This is inside the store. I kept humming "Gaston's Theme" from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. There were stuffed animals and heads everywhere, from Armadillos to lynx, deer, fox, and even larger exotic game in the "gun room." Camo for the whole family. I did pick up a new tent, however. A small 2 person tent to replace my aging tent I received in Beijing about 8 years ago. This new one is a little smaller, but just as light and more compact. It also has some nice vent features.

To get to the crack, you have to take I-17 north to the junction of the highway that runs straight to Sedona. Instead of heading west, though, you drive a short distance east over a forest road, and look for a small dirt parking lot. From there, we hiked along and actually got a little confused, since I didn't remember the trail being so long. We got about 2 miles in and were considering hiking back, but we decided to press on and try a small trail which looked like it looped back down towards the water at the bottom of the canyon. At the end of the trail, we ran into a guy who told us we had turned too early, and who directed us the right way to go. He borrowed my compass/mirror combination to check out his nose, which had a few cuts where he swam into a rock.

The crack was only about ten minutes of hiking more, not too many people, maybe a dozen spread over the entire length of the swimming hole. We dropped our packs, changed, jumped, and swam the rest of the afternoon, before hiking back down to some nice campsites we'd found for the night.

It was a bit scary out there, I admit, just the two of us with no one around for miles. I'd neglected to bring anything bigger than a swiss army knife, and though there probably wasn't anything larger than a coyote, there are bears in Sedona occasionally. No campfire, there was a stiff $5000 fine for a fire posted, due to the dry season, so we cooked noodles and ate dried squid over my camp stove.

In the morning, we cooked more noodles for breakfast, broke camp, pumped more water for the day, and headed back to the crack for a morning of swimming and ledge jumping. Saw lots of fish and even a few crayfish. We headed back in the early afternoon, and the downhill hike made it an easy hour and a half back the car.

I drove my Prius up and back, and I was pretty happy with it. The gas mileage is still pretty good out in the open desert highways, around 50 MPG, but the low power for uphill driving led me to christen the car "Patience." I think its a fitting name for a Prius. We stopped off at Chino Bandito on the way home for dinner.

I've been slowly working my way through Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. I read it first in 10th grade in high school, so I missed a lot. It's really an amazing book, about humanity at its worst, and at its best, where people are pushed beyond their absolute limits. This book, like no other I've read, screams at the reader.

Medium is the message

I moved the blog again. I deleted the Tumblr account and moved everything to Medium.com, a more writing-centric website. medium.com/@wende...