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IGNORE last ''jumbled words post'' (I hate it when that happens) Alone together in Mumbai Canyon

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by Randi, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Randi

    Randi Guest

    --- On Thu, 6/10/10, Randi> wrote:

    From: Randi> Subject: Re: [from Canyons Group] Alone together in Mumbai Canyon To: Yahoo Canyons Group Date: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 8:19 AM


    The challenges were large It was miles in. …

    A cross joint canyon  to our objectives west, blocked easy cross country travel from the rim. The potential exits up out of 50 Mile Canyon, to the east of this joint seemed a long shot and

    then canyon entrenched, with high walls as it approached the lake. We would have

    to......probe for access…

     ***Sounds like a Ram kind of challenge. And the thorough planning/forethought that goes into making a challenge more prone to success than failure. Great points to note.***  Yes, this attempt was a long shot. We accepted that we might

    not get to do the place this time. In fact that seemed likely.  ***That’s what those long arms and legs of yours were built for, taking long shots…hehehe. God knows your stride is long…I have to run to keep up with you half the time (especially if I stop even for a second to snap off a photo).***

    A friend recently said that life is just "one big sort" and I think that person is ontosomething.  ***What friend said this? Tell me it’s not true! ***

    It was not long ago that he passed me by strength and skill wise. Now I need

    binoculars to spy the level he travels at now.  ***Isn’t it a beautiful bittersweet thing? Watching/feeling ourselves decline (in some areas) as we age,  but at the same time gracefully watching them blossom from children into fine young adults as they start to surpass us? Our children are roughly the same age, and I see in Sarah the things you see in Aaron…bits of myself, but completely her own & surpassing me in physical prowess, along with a few other areas as well. ***

    I find a reclining rock and slide into, form fitting the rock and sand. The sweat dries

    and my mind wanders. Then I doze. How much time passed? The sun shadow line has

    traveled, but not far. I feel a bit of chill. I stroll to the sun. First I note

    how nice our water source is. Then find rocks that mimic the shape of lounge

    chairs. I slip in and.....and what?........what am i doing? A whole life spent

    on the run, driven by activity and now I sit doing......what?..... Nothing? Or

    something, but if its something, what is it? I observe and realize that mostly,

    I am listening. Before I thought it silent. Now? A sympathy of sound. I find it

    very pleasant. Who remembers those cassette tapes that they used to sell

    in.....was it the 70's? With nature sounds? I used to snidely laugh at the idea

    of people who never visited the wilds listening to such things. I of course was

    in the presence of the "real thing" all the time....but now I realize that I

    probably wasn't REALLY listening and I did not value it. A volcano of energy,

    back then, within me, was driving me here and there and drowning this sound and

    so many other things out.  ***Hahaha…this I’m having a hard time picturing!It sounds to me like the ‘something’ you were doing is relaxing! Yes you, relaxing, and tuning in to your surroundings. Weird for you? A reality shift? Does this mean you’ll wait for me while I listen to the birds, take photos of bugs and & smell the flowers on our next trip? ;)~I’ve always noticed, & been distracted by such things.  But then, I’ve never had the drive & testosterone level that you do. I think it’s wonderful that these sounds & sights left an impression which screamed “notice me!”, although I bet you’ve noticed before and simply been too distracted by the “masculine”– the volcano part of the adventure parts to remember them.***

    Now I was really listening. Bullfrogs and crickets lay out a chorus and a back

    beat, but while prevalent, they do not echo all the time. There are gaps. Birds

    are about. Such a variety of calls and they come from so many angles. It seems that I hear from one kind once and then no more. Or do the same birds have distinctly different commentary? It feels like an audition, each successive call trying to garner attention with a distinctness of sound. Then 2 ravens visit and caw. All else seems to go silent for a dozen seconds. Then they move on and the chorus takes up again. Even the raven doesn't want to hog the stage. A second later, a hum I hear over my shoulder. Its quite loud! It is above me, but only a few yards. I look, but see nothing. But I know where they are, this large swarm of insects. They are behind, then above and then past, there receding sound mimicking the sound of a passing train. I wonder how many times such sounds have been around me and I had not noticed them. Somehow, those old nature cassettes from a different era don't seem so silly anymore. Then another animal is heard. Leaves disturbed. Soon I hear deep breathing and then the call...."Ram!" I don't reply. I can't reply. It seems too intrusive. He will be here in seconds anyway.

    Sweat glistening, eyes and face full of discovery, bursting to be shared and I

    see....a variation of myself from a time long gone. From a youth gone.  It's

    expression and memories still within me, slowly fading....and leaving this

    person who now listens to sounds of other beings.  I change channels and engage

    this man, new to adulthood. There are partial answers to mysteries we are

    seeking. These will offer their own unique gifts  ***I love the way you described the world in the above paragraphs Ram. You sound “one” with all the vitality and energy around you. I wonder if your photo-taking (noting that you have in the past thanked Hank & myself both for turning you onto subtleties of nature via our photos) has anything to do with having a different perception of the ‘smaller’ beauty of these immensely grand places? ***


    There's a Zen to it. It's just something about running on varied terrain; so

    fluid, so rhythmic. There was an extra exuberance about each step. I could feel

    a distinct energy that only comes for me, with exploration.  ***Nice description Aaron!***  The desire to know what's around that next corner…. I know that if we are to pull the trigger on this one, we must be able to find a quick and easy way out the north side of the main canyon, cut cross country over a pass to the slot, rim walk the slot, find a way into the middle in order to thoroughly scout both the lower and upper sections, and retreat to camp with enough daylight to cook dinner and pack for the next days sunrise start. Quite the agenda right?  Big surprise coming from a pair of Rams.  ***So many rational thoughts for such a young explorer. Makes you unique I think with respect to many young men your age. King Ram’s methodical calculating has rubbed off on the younger Ram prince!***

    The walls are tall and brilliantly sculpted, creating giant curving bends in the

    canyon, many housing giant alcoves which offer shelter even in the most violentof storms. ……I smear up and just as it gets too steep, I find a beautiful rounded pocket for my foot, then one just above that for my other foot. Moqui steps! I followed the steps as they wound around the left over an unforgiving drop. After 70ft the steps disappear and the angle lessens.

    Exhale... but not fully! The angle is still fairly steep for 100ft more before

    it finally declines. I wandered 300ft more to the bench, partly to ensure that

    there was no stopping cliff feature, but mostly, to gear up mentally for one

    hell of a down-climb!.....

    ***Your words are a graceful blend of poetry and technical descriptors. Nice writing Aaron!*** Over an hour has passed. Wow he must be bored. ***Bored with nature sounds? Like the ones in those old 70’s tapes? Seems not! ; )~***


    Aaron says he has found the way. …...a deep V shaped slot, with terraces and the glimpses into a frightening void below.We look at each other and smile. There is "business" in there. I don't speak of it, but my son knows my stomach is churning with nerves too. ***This story, the way you’ve laid it out with father/son perceptions is intriguing.  It provides a neat glimpse into yours and Aaron’s mental landscape, and the way interaction over the years in these wild places has shaped that landscape toward one another.  The baton of trust has been handed to the son, by the one who carried it for so many years! Wonderful! I can’t really put into words how neat this view into your relationship is.  I get sense of a respect and admiration that goes beyond many, dare I say ‘most’ father/son relationships?***


    I turn back and look at Ram and we share a

    moment of true concern. High stemming changes the game, in a big way. All three silos look  bombay  ….  ***Yet, you look deeper, and you ‘really’ stop to think each one through! ***  The move is simple. Elevator down as far as you can, then jump no more than two feet to the ground below. So simple and routine. The move is cake with a partner. So there I sat, two feet away from getting that view into the lower section we so desperately need. How sure am I that I can reverse this? 95%. Maybe even 98%. ALMOST certain. But wait...back up for a minute...Ram is all alone having gone down 2 rap's that he would have a hell of a time getting back up. If I get down and can't get up again, I have no rope to get out the bottom. Ram has no way to get out the top. We would be two trapped rats. Hmmm...98% doesn't seem so great anymore.  ***95% sounds good enough odds for most young 20 something bucks, I would think. I’m happy to know that the 5% chance that you wouldn’t be able to reverse it was enough to stop you. It shows a clarity & wisdom that’s beyond many your age. Bravo! ** ******Way to go Aaron. No wonder Ram is ‘OK’ with trusting his only son out there (just the two of you) in a remote setting like this. I wouldn’t be able to take on the risk with Sarah, as competent as she is. I don’t know if that means I don’t trust her enough, or if my over-protective ‘mommy’ instinct is just different than a man’s protective instincts over sons. I just know I wouldn’t be able to relax and wait for a report like this in such unforgiving,

    unknown circumstances. Not yet anyway. I freaked out a bit sending her off to do EII & III without me during SaddleFest – worried the whole time, even though I knew she was with competent folks.*** 


    The clock says 5 AM. Time to go. The

    pack is already packed, the camp gear is cached. Another water bottle drank and refilled. We look into each others eyes. I say "both sections, right?" He

    replies "Yup." We are out walking within 12 minutes of wake up.  ***The ’only’ thing I don’t miss about being on the Ram Plan! Those  early wake-up-move- em-out mornings! ;)***

    My stomach turns. Overnight I had hoped that this hard

    looking canyon may have morphed into something friendlier? Alas no. We both drift off to dig cat holes. For me, now with more urgency. ***Hehehehe…butterflies?***

    I hesitantly follow the "rock dancer" into the deep imposing crease in the Earth.  ***Nice! Sounds like a line from the book “Secret knowledge of Water” by Craig Childs (I highly recommend this book to you and anyone else who loves the desert). Is ‘rock-dancer’ gonna stick? I hope so – what a cool nickname!***

    something is not right with me. My heart rate flies up high and yet no oxygen

    seems to be getting to my legs. And I experience waves of light headedness. this is not good in a high stemming canyon……

    Now I am scared. Bad place for nearly passing out. I see the look of deep worry on Aaron's face. Mine must reflect the same. Nothing to do, but swallow the canyon with baby steps. Hours slip by, but we are slowly….  *** Wow! Not good at all! Especially not good with just the two of you!***  To share this discovery. The uncertainty. The risk. The rewards. I determine to let those feeling wash over me, for the window for such special things to happen, between the two of us, is clearly closing.  ***Closing? Bah! It might just shift a bit…it never has to close! There are more methods of discovery, uncertainty, risk that you can learn to experience in venues outside of ‘outside’.If worse comes to worse, you two could always go gambling together! ;)~***  I am doing better, but not great. ***Whew!*** I stem around a corner and slip, slide down 2 feet

    and comfortably catch myself, annoyed with my carelessness. Only when I have stopped and the event is over, do I get to see that there was a  bombay  below me and a 20 foot fall was only a few feet below where my slide had halted. Funny, not knowing the danger and it being over before I did, I experienced no fright at all. Aaron above, with a full view of where I was, had his knees buckle with fear. Sorry kid. I'm alright! He tells me not to do that again.  ***Holy sh*t, that could’ve been real bad! Lucky you (and Aaron)! I can just see the look on Aaron’s face as he, with a look of great concern, sternly looks at his father and says with “don’t do that again!”.***


    Ram has done well to get here. He is drenched in sweat and laboring, but he is

    taking the passage in small bites and being careful. The necessary focus remains. As a kid, when the experience became difficult for me, he would

    playfully (sort of) bring out the mantra "Its a finite experience, Deal!"  ***Good advice.*** 


    The rap was amazing!!! We sit for a moment, with satisfaction. But not for long. How much swimming lays ahead of us? Still we feel safe, at last.  ***Ah, the joy of a overcoming the obstacles and getting to the point where one feels the ‘best/worst’ of it is over***

    It would prove to be over half a mile to where we climbed out of the lake. We take out the cameras. We had them away for

    the long swim, but here we snap away liberally. Now we are feeling the joy. My illness in the canyons hard spots, takes a bit away from the

    elation, but we had done it, including navigating that dangerous aspect with the patience, which was our best strategy.

    We decide on Mumbai, to honor the canyons two critical  bombay  spots and

    the Indian's reclaiming naming rights to their own cities.  Is that obscure

    enough for you?  ***Yes, obscure. I had to look it up! : )***

    ...this thing we just did together. It was priceless. 

    For a time, we were the only people in the world. Alone

    together Ram and Aaron

    ***The words that relay the story of your experiences to the rest of us are pretty priceless too! Thank you so much! I ‘m very honored to be afforded this glimpse. ***

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