Title: Maud and Addie
Title: Maud and Addie
In late September I did an overnight backpack trip in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to an amazing spot near the Escalante River. The Golden Cathedral is doable as a dayhike, but at 11+ miles, my companions (my son and a friend) and I decided we'd rather camp and have time to enjoy the spot. It was a great decision.
I kind of wish I'd gotten some photos of the "Egypt Road" on the way in, because it tested the limits of Prius ground-clearance. Imagine our surprise when we got to the trailhead and the only other car there was... yet another Prius.
|Our two Prii. The 3rd was parked on the other side of the trees.|
In some ways, getting to the TH was the hardest part. Once there, we filled out a permit in the box provided, and headed out--down to the Escalante River.
|You can kind of tell where the land changes. The river runs through a shallow canyon in front of the more rounded bits.|
|The river had flooded recently, leaving a lot of drying mud.|
We camped not too far from the river, and finished the hike to the Golden Cathedral with just cameras and water. There had been flooding here, too, reminding us to find a campsite above the highest water line.
|Heading up Neon Canyon|
|First glimpse through a narrow passage to something cool.|
|The Golden Cathedral|
We spent about 2 hours just hanging out, taking photos, watching the light change, and playing with the shadows and reflections. There was some discussion of how cool it would be to see the place in flood, if you could do it without dying. (Actually, it was clear that you could climb to safe places; you just couldn't leave until the water moved on.)
|Reflections of the water on the ceiling. Note the photographer's shadow.|
|Second Son playing with the shadows and reflections.|
Eventually the light left us, and we moseyed back to camp to have some dinner. In the morning we made an early start, to try to climb out of the river bottoms before the day heated up. We saw some flowers, to my surprise. You can also tell from the flower photos how much of the way we were slogging through sand!
|Some kind of sunflower|
|The final climb|
Another long, slow drive back out the Egypt road to camp. More adventures the next day!
The InLinkz sign up will open on the third Wednesday and close 3 days later. It will contain no news, just the sign up. Participants link up with their DLs (Direct Links to their entry).
My entry this time is based on an actual incident. Mom and my brothers will recognize it. My apologies to them for the non-trivial liberties I took with history and their personalities.
We are now also meant to provide a tag line for our stories, so here's mine:
What terrors lurk in the root cellar?
The house we lived in that year wasn’t much. The wind blew in everywhere you could imagine a draft, and some places you couldn’t. The old enclosed porch we used as a root cellar was worse. It wasn’t just the wind that could get in through the chinks and cracks in that one. Though it stayed just enough above freezing not to spoil the potatoes, it was infested with everything from spiders to mice, maybe more. At least there weren’t any snakes in that part of the country.
By the end of October the porch was full of root veggies from the huge garden we’d maintained all summer, plus rows and rows of quart mason jars full of fruit—peaches, plums, applesauce, tomatoes. It was Mom’s pride, but none of us much cared for it when we had to go in there and dig out a bunch of spuds or parsnips. I especially hated going for parsnips, because I really couldn’t stand them so it was sort of doubly icky.
As a result, it was usually Mom who had to go rummage in the gunny sacks for the evening meal. We kids would make ourselves scarce, even though my brothers were older than me and supposed to be brave and tough and all that stuff teenaged boys claimed to be.
The night I’m talking about was Halloween, so we were all upstairs working on our costumes, even though we were too old for trick-or-treat. There was a party at the high school for everyone who wanted to come, and we had to have costumes. It was cold upstairs, but we were all working in our rooms to keep the costumes secret, for some reason I can’t remember now.
It was that time of year when dark came on early and took us all by surprise, and a gloomy afternoon was the worst. This one was rainy enough to make me glad I was too old to trick-or-treat, though the truth was we lived too far out in the sticks to make that work anyway. The previous fall, when we’d just moved in, I walked the mile up the road to the nearest neighbor, was given an apple, and walked back. That was it. No one else lived close enough to visit.
So this year I was pleased we’d be going to the high school, where I was sure they would have candy. My oldest brother would drive us in after dinner. He’d just gotten his license and was itchy to show it off, though carting the siblings around wasn’t what he had in mind. I could hear those pleasant kitchen noises that meant Mom was starting to fix dinner, though no good smells were rising yet. It didn’t much matter, since we were all saving up to stuff ourselves at the party.
The wind and rain beating on my windows was kind of creepy. It wasn’t really dark, but that super-spooky kind of dusky light, and I hadn’t turned on my lamp yet, so I could see out. I kept flinching from things flying by the window, but maybe that was because we’d been studying Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” in art class. That was the teacher’s idea, to keep our interest when we just wanted to play with paints and clay. But I thought the screamer was dodging some kind of black ghost or something and for the moment blowing leaves made me jump.
I switched on the light, which kept me from seeing out, but might have made my jitters worse. I kept glancing at the windows, now blank black rectangles, and wondering what might be looking in. Honestly, I was kind of enjoying working my way up to a good case of the spooks.
Then Mom screamed.
It sounded just the way the one in the painting looks.
I nearly wet my pants. Mom never screams.
If Mom was screaming, it meant an unthinkable horror. With visions in my head of accidents with the kitchen knives, vampires, monsters, and the undead, I left my room at full speed.
My brothers, I’m glad to say, catapulted from their rooms just as fast. We narrowly avoided a pile-up at the top of the stairs and flew down in close formation.
As fast as we were, Mom had stopped screaming before we got there. It might have been a single scream. Cut off by the fangs of a vampire?
The door to that porch/root cellar was open and the very dim bulb inside glowed feebly. We raced for the spot, crowding around the door, too worried about Mom to be scared, though I kind of hung back and let the boys go first. After all, there were two of them, so Mom and Dad could spare one if the vampire got him.
Mom stood there, looking a little shame-faced, but shaken. While we watched, she pulled on Dad’s heavy work gloves—he wasn’t home—and reached into the nearest potato sack.
She glanced at us. Her voice was almost steady as she said, “Sorry to scare you. But… have you ever felt a furry potato?”
She pulled a dead rat from the bag.
I’d have run, but my knees had gone weak.
And those rotten boys were laughing.
After more than two weeks of day-hike training and the shorter (but still rather stiff) Pine Creek backpack trip, we set off on the main event, a 4-night, many-lake loop near Mammoth, CA.
Day 1 was a 9-mile + hike up to Thousand Island Lake, along the High Trail, one of two trails that count as the Pacific Crest Trail north of Agnew Meadows.
|Banner (right) and Ritter were the peaks that defined much of this trip, as we pivoted about them.|
It was a long day, but we made 1000 Island Lake with enough energy to find a nice, tucked-away campsite. It's a very popular area, so we weren't far from neighbors, but we had our privacy.
|Camp, with our almost-matching TarpTents.|
|There was lots of smoke in the air, which at least made for interesting light.|
There was so much smoke that first night that we wondered if we should continue the trip, but as nothing could be done that night, we went to bed. It was much better in the morning.
|First light, and a setting moon. Banner Peak on the left, Davis Mt. is the highest point on the right.|
|As the sun rose, the smoke did interesting things.|
|By the time the sun was well up, we were ready to hike on to the next lake.|
Day two was a short traverse over the ridge to Garnet Lake. Even taking our time in the morning and taking it easy on the way, we were there before lunch.
|An early look at Garnet, dominated by Banner--and Ritter, now emerging from behind it's brother peak.|
|Garnet was a lot like Thousand Island Lake, only a bit less populated.|
|A smoke-tinted sunset|
|Sunrise was a little breezy, but clear. The lake was too rough for reflections, but the little tarns scattered around the peninsula were not.|
Day Three was a longer day, up and over to Shadow Creek, then up the creek to Ediza lake. We started early enough to beat the heat, which wasn't too bad anyway.
|Ediza Lake. Campsites are all on the far side of the lake.|
Day four saw the division of our party, as C hiked out on the trail to return to Mammoth, while T and I took a scrambley route past Iceberg and Cecile Lakes to Minaret Lake.
|Approaching Iceberg Lake|
|Iceberg Lake, just before the trail became a scramble up the talus slope.|
|Cecile Lake had its own stark beauty, but didn't look like anyplace you'd want to camp.|
|The author picking our campsite at Minaret Lake|
|The descent to Minaret Lake was a bit steep.|
Minaret gave us our best sunrise, with perfect views, light, calm water for reflections, and of course the spectacular Minarets.
Evening and morning.
After that, the only thing left to do was to hike out...
And enjoy a good meal in town!