07 July 2008

Camping: The Beginning of Adventure

Sometime in May, I was given the 4th of July off from work. Right away Jesse and I decided we just "had to" get out of town. We wanted to drive and relax. And camping seemed to be the best option. For five weeks we fantasized and for one week we planned. It probably should have been the other way around.

Late Thursday (3 July 2008) we left for Lone Rock Beach. It was a last minute change after we realized we could camp right on the beach. Hindsight tells me that should have been a bright red flag. It wasn't and we went.

We drove through Zion National Park on the way, which was an added treat. We've wanted to go to Zion for at least a year, but haven't. To say it's a popular destination would be an understatement. We decided 4th of July was not the time to test it out. Although we were excited to drive through it. Too bad we got there before dawn. We saw some of the grandeur as we were leaving. You'll have to take my word for it though - the pictures were taken without natural light.


Lone Rock Beach was beautiful. We arrived just after seven, but a lot of people were already waking up and heading to the water. We drove along looking for a spot - until the moment came. It was the moment we should have expected but didn't. The moment we realized a loaded Hyundai is not a beach vehicle. We were stuck.

Jesse got out and started digging. We didn't have a proper shovel, so there he was out in the sun, under a hot car, digging hot sand with his bare hands. I didn't dare take a picture for fear his head would explode. But I was tempted. A passerby stopped to help Jesse dig. Two teens with a shovel appeared a little while after that. Yard by yard, we moved Henry the Hyundai back to terra firma. We were just two feet away when two men in a pick up (with a chain) came to our rescue.

video

Lesson: Always carry a proper shovel and tow rope on adventurous trips.

Jesse was a sweaty, dirty, virile mess. We drove on higher ground and lower ground, but nothing was close enough to the beach for us to set up camp. We also saw another car stuck in the sand. That was our cue to leave. We decided to head to Wahweap Marina. It was close, and also closed to us. Technically it was full until 11. But we didn't foresee a lot of people heading out first thing on the fourth. Our third hope was south at Lees Ferry. We crossed the Grand Canyon on the Navajo Bridge. There was a parallel foot bridge. We got out for our first brush with majesty.


It's certainly more than grand. Perhaps immense would be better. I looked at the bottom as I walked and felt the world turn a little - as if I were at the center of something magnificent. Jesse called the feeling vertigo. I'm sure we mean the same thing.

The Navajo Bridge was also my first (and only) negative restroom experience on this trip. There is apparently no running water in that spot along the Colorado River. Signs explained human waste was recycled into fertilizer. I could not see where my "contribution" went. Everything was dark and another sign asked me to close the lid after use. It wasn't the most hygienic place. But there was plenty of hand sanitizer, and I took full advantage. As you'll learn, I'm even tidy when I'm roughing it.