Friday, July 8, 2011

Zion (this post is not about religion, I promise)

(anonymous pic of the Zion Narrows from internet)

I am eager to get back to nature.  I want to go as soon as possible, as far as possible, for as long as possible.  I haven't been camping in several years now. The last time that I went I took Rachel.  It was her first time, and last.  She had never been tent camping before.  It all came as quite an unexpected shock, I think.  She has said that she'll never do it again. Though she did say that in the future she would let me sleep in a tent and she would sleep in a cabin.  A compromise of sorts.  

I greatly prefer tent camping to all other types.  

On that trip I took her to Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and all points between.  It was perhaps an overly ambitious trip.  Such was my enthusiasm to camp, to hike, to see.  We agreed if we were to go camping in the future (I have been pushing for Yellowstone) that we would decide on a camp site and stay there the entire time, venturing out each day from a central location, with her preferably in a hotel near the entrance to the park and me tent camping wherever it is most likely that I will somehow be suffering and cold.

My mistake on that first trip was that we broke down the camp site each morning, went to a different park and then set up the camp site again.  Never gaining a sense of center, or home base, from which to venture out from.  It was quite troublesome for her.  She had nowhere to prepare herself in the morning: to shower, to do her hair, makeup, etc.  I assured her that it was not necessary and that I loved her, au naturel.  Unless you have tried this approach with a woman who has never been camping before you can not possibly know the look that you will receive in response to your claim. Nature indeed!  Its proximity to the truth will only heighten the animated reaction of your partner, which is much more of a gender based retaliation than a visual reply.

She enjoyed hiking the Zion Narrows, the drive through Monument Valley, hiking down into The Grand Canyon from the southern rim, horseback riding in Bryce Canyon, and the sunset and sunrise vistas from Arches.  Beyond that she enjoyed being difficult, it seemed, and disagreeing with me at all possible moments.  I'm certain that she surmised that to be my intention as well. We did not get along very well at all during the trip and it is part of what triggered one of our biggest, longest, most enduring breakups.  We eventually found our way back together, for a time.  Then apart and back together again, with fewer arguments each time... now we're happily married.  We do not discuss camping very often.

I get crazy in the city.  I can only take so much and then my mind starts slipping, as if being pulled downtown by imaginary rapids, a flash flood of hot and humid and noisy anxieties.  I am poisoned from living in the city too long.  Too long for me, that is.  I think I hit my limit around 10 years, which was 2 years ago.  It's not that I don't like the city.  I simply don't get out of it often enough.  Working a menial job has done irreparable damage to my sense of outdoor life.  I know it is time to move on but life gets complicated depending on the decisions you make, the sacrifices you choose.  

Perhaps it is time for a journey back to nature.

Below is a picture of me wading in the Zion Narrows.  

I was searching for the fabled promised land in that thin watery canyon, of course.  

We gave up and turned back after a few miles.  There was a campsite waiting to be broken down and moved....

(Sean, during his brief stint as a Zionist)