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What now?... 20120501_7039 | by listorama
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What now?... 20120501_7039

Right behind/below me is a vertical dirt cliff about 20 feet tall, forming the edge of a brush-filled wash. The combination of drop-off and jungle of brush seemed to signal that this was as far as I could go up the canyon of Salt Wash (in Arches National Park). Bummer. My goal was to go about two more miles up the canyon, so I was not ready to give up.


So, in spite of the nasty appearance of the brush, I decided to see if it were possible to find a way through it and regain the same level up ahead. In short order I found a game trail that provided an easy descent into the brushy area. Then I proceeded to work my way through the tamarisk and willows. The brush was thick and visibility was very limited, so I marked my route with white flagging to facilitate the return hike.


For a few minutes I made good progress in the jungle, but the brush just got thicker and thicker. At one point I had to step over squishy ground and shortly thereafter I reached a small stream that was too wide to jump over and too deep to splash through. Visibility ahead was about 15 feet. That sealed my fate: I gave up and turned around. As I "hiked" back to the game trail, pushing branches out of the way, I collected the flagging I had placed to mark the route.


The disappointment soon faded as I explored a nearby dry wash that led into exciting side canyons. It was a great hike.


The dark things on my lower legs are gaiters, worn to keep branches, dirt, and stones out of my socks and boots.


The image was produced with the steady support of Joe Tripod, my photographic assistant in the field. He is impartial to cliffs, drop-offs, and brush.


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Taken on May 1, 2012