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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.

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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?”

They’re pink

“No, Mom, this is awesome,” I corrected her. “It’s better than awesome. It’s… There’s no word for it in your language for how awesome it is.” So I barked the word in my language, and then did a cartwheel followed by a sprint to show her what it meant.

Rekindling

“Lemme at ‘em! I’ll bark at ‘em, and I’ll chase ‘em, and then I’ll bark at ‘em while I chase ‘em!” But Mom, who doesn’t understand how to appreciate wildlife at all, ignored me and slowly chased the beasts to my side of the street.

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.

Breaking in

But just because it was dangerous, illegal, and a really bad idea wasn’t enough to make Mom accept that the walking rocks were out of our reach, and for the next hour she kept trying to bargain with The Witch to find a way in.

Ghost hound

“This isn’t a ghost town, it’s a ghost house,” I pointed out. “And it’s not even ancient like Mark Dwayne. Look, the inscription says Niko was here 2019.”

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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