Getting Back to Nature Part I

The prodigal daughter has returned from a perfect weekend in The Land of Milk and Honey. Well, almost perfect. This is me we’re talking about.

We were blessed to backpack one of the premier areas in the United States: Canyonlands National Park. We stumbled upon a little gem in their backcountry–Devil’s Kitchen–four years ago. I’m not sure what makes it so amazing. Maybe it’s the giant slabs of rosy sandstone that cover the area like a moonscape. Or maybe that the only way to access it is on foot or via Elephant Hill, a precipitous and death-defying 4X4 ascent where countless cars have committed suicide.

As we started up the trail, it was like stumbling into a familiar, wonderful dream. Until I awoke myself up. If you will recall, I had a little cold earlier in the week. A little cold that evolved into full-fledged bronchitis. Ever backpacked with bronchitis? I wouldn’t recommend it. At least not highly.

I really was doing pretty well as we wound through the ascent’s fiery matrix of erosion. The convoluted canyon’s steep and embayed cliffs dwarfed us at every turn. This dramatic sweep of sandstone was punctuated by dizzying rock pinnacles that caused us to frequently pause for inspiration and wonder if this had to be heaven.

Until the fumes began.

I stopped, looked but found nothing. A few minutes later, I ascertained it was following us. Or rather, following Hunky Hubby. Turns out the sugar-free Twizzlers we munched on the drive have a little side effect they call “gastric discomfort.” Ever hiked for several hours behind a skunk? I wouldn’t recommend it. At least not highly. Especially when you, too become doubled over with the same condition. I think I’ll just spring for the sugar next time.

When we finally arrived at Devil’s Kitchen, we quickly setup camp before darkness won out. We were pleased to discover there was only one other campsite (out of the four) that was inhabited over the widespread area. This was isolation at its best.

Or so we thought.

As the sun went down, temperatures grew brisk and my sweaty clothes felt like an enclosed icebox around me. As I went to change into something warmer, I decided to liven things up with our own special edition of Parents Gone Wild and do a little striptease in our secluded grotto.

I got as far as taking my shirt off when Jamie, staring behind me at the fractured road, evenly said, “Amber, there’s a man over there.”

Yeah, right. That Hunky Hubby is always trying to freak me out.

But then I heard someone from the road shout “Hello!”

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been caught mid-striptease and think you know how you would react. Fortunately, I did not whip around in shock. Jamie said I froze, eventually grabbed a pile of clothes and enclosed them around my chest like an ill-fitting glove. And then freaked out.

I expect my little performance will be coming to a YouTube near you sometime soon.

In Getting Back to Nature Part II, journey with us to a mystical cliff beneath the stars, in a tent with puke and to a celebrity-like encounter where I am the celebrity….

Canyonlands Moab

Other Posts