Monday, April 20, 2009

Backpacking the Canyonlands Natl Park

Yes it was a class (3 days) and yes I got 2 credits for backpacking. Only in Utah. :) It was sick, its just outside of Moab in southern Utah, which is pretty much the world center for rock climbing. I wish I had a digital camera (my birthdays on may 5th hint hint), my phone died before I could get some pics of the hike, but I did manage to get some of the ride through Moab. Actually I did get 2 pictures of the campsite and a desert flower but those pics mysteriously disappeared from my phone....maybe Navajo spirits are responsible...after all that whole area was occupied by at handful of different indian peoples in ancient times, and we passed ancient ruins along the hike that proved it.
Its amazing anyone lived there, it was very desert like and mountainous at the same time, red rock, sand, cacti, big horn sheep, giant rabbits that are the size of goats, cougers. There were 10 people int he class including 3 Navy seals, who were hilarious. They made for some awesome campfire stories. Or flashlight stories since we werent allowed to have fires in the area. It really interesting hearing what really goes on overseas, its like wow, so thats what really happens. Its like the news we get on TV doesnt cover anything.

In part of the hike the 2nd day, the instructors make us hike about 2 miles on our own and set us off in intervals to experience solitude, and wed meet up at a certain location down this river we were following. I got sick of the river and decided to take a short cut through a desert area and look for some lizards, which I found plenty of but had no luck catching. When we all met up again, one of the Navy guys said he found me and was following me for a good 20 minutes to make sure I didnt get attacked by cougers, HAHAH!!! Wow. It was weird I didnt notice he was there at all since it was so quiet. I wouldnt want to be that guys enemy, he could have sniped me if he wanted to. But then again they do that for a living so they should be good at it.
Also I learned a lot about remember to pack everything. Especially sunglasses, contact solution, and a light (which I found out would be nice to have when needing to pee in the middle of the night). All of which I forgot. Also I learned that in a desert, the water will be muddy, and a pump is a better choice over water tablets to purify water, because otherwise the water you drink will be muddy, have debris in it, and taste like a combination dirt, salt, and various animals. Maybe using tablets and a filter would have been a good idea, since cows roamed freely in the area and they liked to leave giant plops everywhere. Including near the water. Lessons learned the hard way.
But it was definitely an awesome trip. We hiked in and out of some canyons, through these amazing rock formations, saw some interesting plants. I even got to eat berries from a juniper tree! They didnt taste good.

Here are the pics I took going through Moab.

Newspaper rock is a 2000 year history of the people who lived there, created in the BC-early AD period. Its cool because there are contributions from all sorts of tribes.

haha! they labeled the hole in the rock...

Here is the muddy water I was drinking, collected from the stream at our campsite. First note the cool biker dude on the bottle. Second, realize that the bottle is translucent. Third, recall how normally you could see through water in a bottle, and here you cant. Made me realize how I take clean drinking water for granted...


Meghan said...

wow Liz, that's intense!
Did the guy get to watch you try to catch lizards? ;P
also... that water is gross. I am amazed that you had the courage to drink it... you're much braver than I.
But it sounds like you had fun ^^

Michael Looby said...

ive always wanted to see that part of the world. it sounded great. It did occur to me that maybe you didn't spot the Navy Seal BECAUSE you forgot your lens cleaner??? Maybe you didn't see the cougar, but it saw you for the same reason!!!!