The best thing about this little sprout of a canyon was that it was on my scale, and Mom and I climbed in and out over the rocks, taking in the canyon from all angles. Then we walked out over the sandstone plane that surrounded the canyon-let, losing the trail almost as often as Mom took pictures. Come to think of it, I’m not so sure we were following a trail at all, so much as wandering from one interesting thing to another.
she kept staring up toward where the sunrise should have been. Instead of a sunrise, there was a giant mountain covered in an armor of thorny rock spikes. Puffy clouds were stuck in the spikes like trash stuck a fence along the freeway, and those clouds were lit up from underneath by the missing sunrise. The whole thing worked like a trap to pull on Mom's eyes like a giant billboard that said CLIMB ME.
Below, the crinkly and broken land looked like someone had crumpled and wadded up the blacktop of the world’s largest car kennel, and then changed their mind and tried to flatten it out again. On top of the cliff, the brick-grey rocks and scrubby bushes stretched out in a long plane to eternity in every direction but one.
Even though it was very easy to follow, Mom tripped and swore almost as often as she took pictures because the big rocks above our heads kept stealing her eyeballs making the rocks under us steal her feet.
“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.
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.
"It’s not a race.” “Are you sure it’s not a race? They’re giving out medals and stuff…” “No, it’s a challenge. There’s a difference. A race is something that you do against someone else, a challenge is when you commit to doing something difficult and compete with yourself. It’s like a competitive resolution. Challenges are different for everybody because they depend on context.” “Wait, so a challenge is a contest?”
“There’s no way that bacon boulder can out-sprint me!” I wagged. “Lemme at him! I'll have him teach you about his problem free philosophy when I catch him.”
“What is the difference between rock climbing, and mountaineering, and hiking? Like, if you wanted to climb that mountain up there, you’d have to get up all that scree.” She pointed at one of the steep fangs, and the thick gums of rocks and sand at the bottom. “Well, you’ve got to do your research. People will post what approaches are loose or dangerous, and what routes are safest and so on.” “Well, what if you were on the right trail and you slip anyway?"