10.24.2008

Desolation Canyon float - post two


The view from my packraft. She's known as Sadie, but many in the group preferred "Little Toot," a children's book reference to her tugboat-like appearance. Initially met with mockery, Sadie soon proved that she's the little tugboat that could.




We floated through some pretty wild country, encountering quite a few wild horses on the Deso stretch, as well as an old moonshine still (in Firewater Canyon, of course). Once we exited Deso, we entered Gray Canyon--lined with old hideouts of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.








Prehistoric Indian petroglyphs.











The second to last night of our six spent on the river was used as a solo trip into the desert wilderness. The students spent about 18 hours contemplating their surroundings and facing whatever fears they might encounter in that situation. I spent part of that time hiking up above the surrounding plateaus to an eroding spire behind our camp.



The desert has always inspired me. After watching the sun set, I made my way down into a desert wash south of camp by head lamp and explored the dry bed, lying on the water-eroded stone picking out constellations, making new ones, and creating my own universe-inspired photographs by "painting" canyon walls with light from my headlamp and silhouetting myself against the firmament.


After an exciting navigation around cacti and cliff-side erosion, I returned to camp at midnight. I "painted" another extended exposure of the landscape near my tent with light from my headlamp so that I would remember the hike and the fact that some of my own fears were encountered and overcome.





One of our last big rapids.





Mountain Lion print in Gray Canyon.



The final morning was a perfect end to the float. Stopping to photograph, I got a little behind the group--just far enough away to quietly meditate on our week, soak in the last of that sweet, morning honey-light as it bounced off the luminous walls and wonder how many times the desert sun would rise and fall before Sadie would see it again.

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazing photographer and I love seeing your endless adventures! Just to brag...Texas gas prices are at 2.09!

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