Following cairns down, down this once molten rock lava flow into a canyon gave me the impression of climbing the sidewall of a funnel. Should it rain somewhere distant, water would collect and spiral down this rock filling up those slot canyons we we so excited to explore. And I stupid or adventurous in bringing my 8 year old into this abyss? She seems resigned to compliance with our plans. This only makes me feel guilty until we spot a family with more to risk than us. Slinking in the shade of the canyon walls brought us face to face with a friendly Mormon family and their kids ages 2-10. Kata and their 7 year old joined forces and ran ahead from the Coyote canyon slot into Peekaboo. We literally had to climb up the already hot walls of the Peekaboo into the slot. What seemed risky soon became a playground as we helped to hoist the toddler into the shade of the cool slot. Sucking her billy, she disappeared through an arch. Adults had no choice but to follow her and the squeals of the siblings leading Kata almost out of sight.
Pumped up by adrenaline, shade and success we combined forces again with our new found friends and made the impetuous decision to search out Spooky. They had been here long before kids but the canyon split, leaving us skeptical and lost. I ran ahead, found other people to confirm its location and once again we were off. Spooky slot is shaded. We had to drop our bags because it was purportedly too narrow for much more than our bodies. Wide enough for our hat brims to brush the canyon walls front to back, we began shuffling sideways through. I panicked. The kids were moving with ease ahead of me and I couldn't keep up. At times I had to squat to fit through and I feared begging able to reach Kata should she need help. Marc was hot on her heels but it all seemed just a bit unsafe. I turned around at one point and headed back. Going back renewed my sense of adventure and I grabbed the camera. I went up and waited in a wide opening in the slot. The sand beneath me was cool and the wind singing down the walls calmed the heat of anxiety. I shot the camera lense at the aperture above and reflected on my entombment. Should it rain, began my morbid thoughts, would I rise and survive or be dashed into these unforgiving rock walls? No longer could I hear my family and this disturbed me more than anything. Suddenly I felt a calm, acceptance of this natural place. Images of temples, crypts and Middle Eastern cities carved into canyons flooded me. I understand the grandeur of being tucked into a final resting place for all eternity. Would I be so lucky someday to be sheltered by rock? Well, not today. I hopped up and plunged into the shadows, climbing up and up until I heard happy voices once more. With no place to turn around, I turned my head and shuffled back to my aperture to click photos of emerging explorers. Together once more we resigned to the heat and the climb out of the funnel. We resigned to the slow return to pavement and cheered as we headed to the power lines and houses of Escalante. Would've stayed here if we. Hadn't made reservations in Bryce. Wolfed down burgers, refueled the car and the food supply. Towns after this would sufficient grocery stores.
Thank you to the friend who suggested leaving the safety of objects, wifi, cell service...
Thank you Mormons for building this road. I now understand its purpose.