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World falling down

Suddenly, I heard a loud rumbling coming from high on the mountain. It sounded like a crack of thunder, and rumbled in my ears like a gunshot. But it went on for too long to be either a gun or thunder, and had too many sharp new sounds buried inside to be just a disturbance in the air like an echo.

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White dirt, schmite dirt

Just at that moment, a man-Oscar in running clothes with hiking chopsticks came bounding up the trail behind us, running with the same rockethorse enthusiasm as me. He had the kind of shapely butt that tights were invented for, and made a mountain man beard look tidy just by opening his toothpaste-ad smile in the middle of it.

Snow country

“Fine,” she said, and chased after me with her shovel-arms. I would have gotten away if we weren’t tied together, but soon she caught me and lifted me onto the log herself. I stood there with my butt in her face and refused to move.

Peek-a-👻

The walls swooped and lunged at us like ghosts as we wound through for almost half a mile. Then we turned a corner and found ourselves looking up at a rock taller than Mom’s head. “I’ve got just the thing,” Mom said, pulling off her packpack. Then she looked at it like someone had pulled a dirty trick on her. “Oh crap, the emergency sling is in the other pack.”

Planning for the worst

We navigated like cowboys, or Indians, or Mormons by jagged rocks that looked like they’d been blown up, and then past rocks that were jagged in a much flatter way. We worked our way steeply up and down striped lumps of rock, and past deep belly-buttons in the rock with pools trapped at the bottom. Finally, we came over a ridge and far below us I could see a canyon filled with peaceful water of deep jewel-colored grey surrounded by bright fire-grey cliffs that were rounded off as if they’d been polished.

Floods and quicksand

Mom and I had unfinished business with our next trail. We had planned to visit this trail on Christmas day, but then The Weather Jinx brought us a white Christmas and the Covered Wagon got stuck in the white dirt just 25 yards down the road that led to the trail. That began our 5... Continue Reading →

Drying out

The trail looked perfect, except for that review that said, “The trail is the river. I repeat, you will be hiking IN THE RIVER.” “What do you suppose that means?” Mom asked. “It means that you would never have picked this trail if it weren’t nearby, less than 3 miles off the highway, and didn’t require a lottery for a permit,” I told her. “Yeah, but what’s that bit about the river? Do you think it’ll be like that for us?”

Mud running

When we arrived at the park, the low clouds crouched over a shallow valley surrounded by melting cliffs that had dripped and sagged like candle wax from giant vampire-castle candles into spikes like upside-down icicles. Each spike-cicle was a sloppy shape, but together they stood tall in neat lines like a box of used crayons. There were rows of spike-cicles not only on the sides of the cliffs, but also in eery towers that were taller than everything around them, and weren’t near anything that could drip on them.

Cursed Mountain

That is, until we turned a corner and there they were, sticking up into the sky like something sharp and deadly. The clouds hazed and misted dangerously around them, making them look vague and imaginary.

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