Anatomy of my Ambition

Sometimes after I've made a decision I realize later that there was no decision at all. As soon as the idea had me, choice became illusion.

Canyon walls campsite

And so Thursday night found me frantically preparing for a weekend solo rafting trip down part of the Grand Canyon. I pulled my coat off its hanger and a cockroach fell out from somewhere in its folds. I don't get a lot of opportunity to wear it anymore. Oh well, this would be a good one, winter in the canyon is cold.

Dessicated Swamps - I'll never complain about hiking uphill again.

And so I set out, my raft, little more than a pool toy against one of the world's most powerful rivers. I didn't have time to raft the entire 277 miles so my plan was to hike across the desert and launch where I intersected the river.

Launch site.

The hiking portion of the trip was brutal, the worst conditions I have ever experienced. Each night I spent bordering on hypothermia, each day I clawed through the miles of thick, dead brush. The dams that now hem in the canyon seem to have created vast wastelands of dead wetlands on the western banks of the canyon. More than once I sat among the shattered branches, utterly hopeless, wondering if I could make it out of this hell, let alone to the river.

But eventually the dessicated swamp began to give way and soon I heard the rushing waters of the Colorado River. All around me the cliffs had risen to majestic heights from nowhere. Obscured by the brush I had not noticed their rise. Overwhelmed after days of the claustrophobic shrubbery I stopped and stared for hours. Finally, muddy and bleeding, I inflated my raft and prepared for myself for the cold waters.

For a day I drifted down the canyon. As evening set and the cliffs slowly fell back into the swamplands I pulled my raft ashore. A couple of tourists stared as I staggered out of the waters. I waved and they waved back, and taking a last look at the canyon I waved to the cliffs now miles away.

My appetite for the Grand Canyon has only been whet, the thirst for the Colorado not yet been slaked; I'll be back I think.

I'm not done here yet.


See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning