Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The wind went on for hours last night, unable to sleep I tossed and turned and watched the moon come up and creep across the sky. The wind blew on, tormenting me, as I tried to sleep and stay warm and keep the blowing sand at bay. I succeeded at none of those.
Just before dawn the wind blew itself out. With the ensuing peace I passed out and slept right through sunrise.
When I finally rise, I start a double helping of oatmeal on the stove and start shuttling the kayak and gear back toward the shore. I first load the back half of the boat and prepare to slide it back toward the water. As I go to lift it across the rock I forget the rule "lift with your knees, not your back" and twinge my lower back. Ouch. Shit. I've done this before and though painful I can get by and usually work it out in a few days with some serious stretching. I hope that's true this time.
I finish packing and launch into glassy water, a beautiful morning for paddling, cool air, warm sun, smooth water. Stroke, glide, stroke, glide. After several hours I arrive at Buoy #57 and realize that I'm at the mouth of the San Juan Arm and that now I'm on the back page of the map, wahoo! Another milestone.
I paddle up the San Juan Arm and camp at 37° 11.92 110° 52.04.
There's a small gully here that I'm hoping will allow access to the rim above and an overlook of the gooseneck to the south. After beaching the kayak and eating lunch I head up the gully exploring and looking for an easy way through the cliff bands to the rim above. After snaking around I bit I make it up to the rim and walk out to the edge overlooking the river channel. The view's good but not as great as I was hoping. The map shows another smaller gooseneck just east of this one and I was hopeful that I could see both, but I can't. I'm not high enough. The cliffs rise another couple of hundred feet above me but there's no way that I can see to get up on top of them.
Back at camp I splash off in the lake and wash the sand from last few days off me and rinse out my clothes. The gully is full of drift wood so I build a fire because even through it's early I'm already in shadow since the canyon walls to the west are close and tall.
What a beautiful night, calm and cool. I lay on my pad for a while with my bag over me like a blanket and stare up at the narrow strip of sky above me. Orion twinkles above me in the blackness as I drift off.