May 2nd, 2011 07:31:24 pm
Today is a rare day. I stole today. I was supposed to be deep inside Salome Canyon guiding a group of civic minded people that had spent the entire previous day doing a trail maintenance project. As it turned out, I was superfluous. That is to say, I got out of it by a sheer stroke of luck . . . for me.
Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona (http://www.voaz.org/) and 360 Adventures partnered to conduct a much needed, and much appreciated, trail project on the trail leading into Salome Canyon. Actually, we're taking mroe credit than we deserve . . . VOAZ has been working on segments of this trail since 2001. We've been guiding this canyon since the mid 90's. They've helped minimize the impact of thousands of adventurers exiting the canyon. We've helped reinforce their trails via the combined trampling efforts of hundreds of clients. They did the work, and we got the glory.
But not anymore. From now on, anytime VOAZ does a trail maintenance project on the Salome trail we'll be providing the dinner! And that was what we promised this time too. But when we originally signed up for the event, I was under the impression that we'd also be guiding the following day's canyon trip. Come to find out that responsibility was bestowed upon some very generous people from a local climbing club that had lead the years' previous events.
So, on Saturday we headed out to the site, late. We brought some bananas & apples with us to nourish those actually DOING the work. We showed up about 2 hours after the real work got started. The deal was that Tina would hand out the bounty and I would get to work when we saw the group. Little did I know this would lead to some great "hide & seek". The first crew we came upon was less than a mile in and they were clearing the boulders from a particularily "difficult" portion of trail. As we arrived it was obvious that the plan would come to fruition. Tina handed out fruit and I was given a McCloud.
About an hour later we'd finished about as much work as would benefit the trail. I realized it was lunch time so I used that as an excuse to head toward Tina. I had her lunch in my backpack so I headed toward her last known direction. At some point I ran into a friend Jonathan McNeil (our permit manager & Forest officer). He informed me that he'd not seen Tina or the mongrel dogs she had in tow. So I headed back toward her last known direction - again. After a few misdirections we finally connected. We made our way to the water's edge, near the canyon's exit and had a leisurely lunch. (Sometimes I amaze myself with my ability to create foods - the chicken salad was f'n incredible.)
We hiked out of the gorge and back onto the newly constructed trail, and finally to the trailhead. Mental note - five finger shoes are NOT a good idea on a rocky trail. Not, at least, until I go through 10 years of Apache Warrior training. Anyway, we made it back to the trailhead and joined the 30, yes 30, other people at the trailhead having beers & sport drinks. Finally we made our way to camp where I put together an embarrasingly simple dinner of vegetarian Marinara, herb-butter vegetables & garlic bread. Sometimes I wonder if people are just being nice or if they REALLY can't cook. Everyone begged me to guide the next day's canyon but I informed them that I had plans the next day that I couldn't escape.
So here I am, sitting in a plastic Hampton recliner typing a blog-entry, half way into a gallon of wedding sangria. I did have plans and we do have tours that are out today. But I decided to steal the day and spend it with my new wife. To balance the day we're doing laundry and some basic landscaping, but suffice it to say we're not engaging in "work".
We decided to "practice for our honeymoon cruise".
Thanks for playing along.