A March across Powell, 19

July 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

March 19, 2014. Wednesday.

I wake at 3:00am after having slept soundly for six hours. I feel alert and ready to rise but it's still too early to get up so I stay comfortably tucked into my sleeping bag and after a while I drift off again. When I wake again the position of moon tells me that now it's time to get up. Leaving the warmth of my bag I dress and collect my camera, tripod and accessories and with an energy bar to munch for breakfast I head up the gully by headlamp toward the plateau above.

In the dark I make a wrong turn, or two, but catch my errors quickly and only have to backtrack a bit. I'm glad I worked out the route yesterday in the daylight. I quickly top-out, work my way over to the overlook and start to set up my tripod and camera just as the light is filling in. Perfect timing.

Moonset over Lake Powell, Glen Canyon NRA, UTMoonset over Lake Powell, Glen Canyon NRA, UT

I brought my cell phone just in case I could get a signal from up here. While I'm setting up the camera it starts chirping with messages its downloading. Amazing, this is the first time I've had reception in several days and it's great. I use the connectivity to send a few messages and post a picture or two to Facebook. Just before heading down I try calling Pippa, the call goes through and we're able to talk for a few minutes. Nice.

Once I pack the boat and launch I'm surprised to find I've got a tailwind, it's really more of a tail-breeze but it's pushing me down the channel. Other than the tail-gale I experienced on the way to Rainbow Bridge this is the only tailwind I've had. I'll take it!

At the confluence with the Colorado I turn right and find that again I've got a headwind. Ugh. The combination of the breeze with the cool morning air chills my core. Somehow I splash my left hand and the evaporating water starts to numb my fingers. I spot a beach and pull out to redress, donning my paddling jacket and full-fingered neoprene gloves. Back on the water I round the next point in about 15 minutes and the wind dies. Okay, now I'm too warm so I pull off the paddling jacket and stuff it under the tie-downs in front of the cockpit in case I need it again. 

I paddle the rest of the way into Hole in the Rock on calm, flat, glassy, black water. With the reflection of the towering walls and blue sky in the depths below me its like I'm gliding through a thin crack between two identical worlds.

I pull up onto a spit opposite Hole in the Rock to camp at 37° 14.92 110° 52.87.

So, back to the point of view discussion...

Here we have two points of view each quite different from each other. There may be other ways to look at life but let's consider these two for a moment.

If we choose to view life, others, etc. from the point of view that we have freewill and can choose our actions what do we get? Well, just look around, this has been our dominant view of the world for centuries. And what do we have? War, destruction, cheating, lying, abuse, psychological manipulations, and on and on.

What would be the result if we assumed a deterministic point of view? A deterministic point of view eliminates our ability to judge, or assign value to a situation or outcome. Everything becomes akin to the weather in that there's nothing we can do about it so we just accept it and get on with life. Sure, we judge a windy, rainy day and call it 'bad weather' but go 'postal' on it? Hardly. Wars aren't started over a blizzard.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig talks of three levels of stillness: physical stillness, where one remains motionless for a time; mental stillness, where one quiets the mind and attempts to think of nothing; and value stillness, where one is free from values or judgement.  A deterministic point of view achieves value stillness.

So what? If I assume a deterministic view will my teeth suddenly be whiter? My car consume less gas? No, life will appear in all visible ways to proceed exactly as it does now.  If you've got a gas-guzzling car it's not suddenly going to run more efficiently.  So what's the point then? Why bother changing your point of view? (to be continued...)

I'm sitting here staring at Hole in the Rock imagining the insanity (read: religious fanaticism)  that could convince anyone to drive a horse-drawn wagon down that hill.  How could anyone, ever, think 'oh, this is a good idea'? Just so you know I've stood at the top of that hill and it looks every bit as stupid from up there. The killer is that once they got to the bottom their troubles had just begun. Getting from the bottom, here at Cottonwood Wash, over to Bluff, UT is every bit as arduous as getting down that hill. Crazy I tell you, it's plumb loco. 

About a dozen times today I worked on stretching out my lower back.  This evening it's still a bit sore as I'm sure it will be for a few more days but it's looser and not nearly as painful as it was yesterday.  I just need to keep stretching and remember 'lift with your legs'.

The rash on my ankles and feet is still there. I'm beginning to think its excessive dryness. I rubbed a bit of lotion into the skin so I'll see how if feels in the morning. Unfortunately I didn't bring much lotion and I'm using most of it on my hands and I'd like to not run out.  I brought some bike chain lube just in case I need to lubricate rudder cables or something mechanical, maybe I can use that on my ankles, but that's not very appealing.

 

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