Stumbling around in the darkness of the morning seems to be the theme for me on this trip. Once again, I found it difficult to get up as I slowly got myself ready for what would be a very warm day, and packed up the room. Not feeling especially hungry, I ate a small breakfast, filled my bag with plenty of water, and got in the car.
Sadly, due to some backtracking and long drives, we were unable to visit the Grand Tetons National Park and had to change the plans. We ended up having a six hour drive to Moab, Utah, with Canyonland National Park as our destination.
The drive to Moab was the longest drive of the trip so far. I found myself crashing in between bathroom breaks, completely unaware that I had ever been asleep. Caffeine from beans and brews kept us going for several hours while the time passed quickly as my group in the car played about thirty rounds of 20 Questions. Around 3:30, we arrived a small local food truck that I had visited on the previous trip. Known as the Quesadilla Mobilla, it serves delicious Mexican food and is surrounded by the gorgeous desert mountains. The meal was one of my favorites from the last trip, and it certainly did not disappoint on Sunday.
After we had our fill, we departed to Canyonland for our 2.4 mile hike. Upon entering the park, these giant red rocks seemed to stretch for miles, bringing about a sense of awe and wonder. Looking out past the structures of rock, the park almost emulated a similar vibe that the Grand Canyon had with the same kind of colors and canyon shapes.
The temperature was about 99 degrees, making it very difficult to stay hydrated and comfortable throughout the hike. Similar to the hike at the Rockies, I found myself slightly short of breath and easily tired going uphill; I’m sure the heat and elevation played a large part in that. However, the views on the hike were absolutely worth it. I feel like I could have sat down and looked out at the canyon forever, never growing tired of seeing it.
One of the highlights of the trip has been doing panoramas of the whole group and while the camera slowly turns away from you, then each person runs behind the photographer and jumps in line on the other side. The result is that their are two of every person in the picture, making group pictures very, very fun. After several more asthetic shots and a quick arabesque dance pose, we continued the hike to another viewing point.
Instead of walking along a trail or path like many of the other hikes on this trip, this hike was not paved but traveled up and down the mountains with some steep dips and climbs. This made it all the more difficult and dangerous, but very unique and fun just the same. The second viewing point allowed us to climb the boulders on the top of the cliff; it felt like we were on top of the world.
The hike going back was a different story. About halfway back to the parking lot, we found a an Australian couple pointing out into the canyon and asking for help. Our leaders quickly ran over and were informed that a husband and wife from Denmark had been hiking for nine miles in the overwhelming heat of the day, before the wife grew dehydrated and collapsed at the bottom of the gorge.
Immediately, without thinking or questioning. Without moving on or debating the topic, Mr. Northup, Micah, and Mr. and Mrs. Mason left to go search for the husband and his wife. Mrs. Northup, and Mr. and Mrs. Gillispie took the rest of us back to the car so that we could contact the park rangers and inform them of the medical emergency.
I could not imagine what both the husband and wife were going through. I was feeling light headed and thirsty during our short hike. Who knows how long they were out there completely exhausted and lost in the heat, hunger, and dehydration. It would be absolutely terrifying to be alone in the wilderness, but for your family to have no idea where you are or if you are alive or not. For about two hours after contacting the rangers and authorities, we sat on the pavement with a strange, foreboding silence lingering.
Never have I ever been a part of something so real like that before. I had never even met the people before, but as new details were revealed about the situation and the reality of the incident sank in, tears filled my eyes. I hated feeling so helpless in the situation; fortunately our God was with us. Just as it began to get dark, a helicopter came flying in to the rescue.
Around 10:00 pm, our leaders returned looking exhausted, but were greeted as heroes. The paramedics were able to get down to the lady and give her food and water. The husband was led back to his car and given the same. We all agreed after the emergency, that if the leaders had not acted as they did, the wife would not have made it. God knew that we needed to be in that particular park at that time, and I’m very thankful and hopeful that she is going to be ok.
With it being very late, and the only thing open, we had dinner at Denny’s. The service had some problems with some not getting what they ordered, and the food being wrong or very late. Just when we didn’t think the dinner could get any more crazy, the waitress came running out when we had gone outside to the cars, exclaiming that we did not pay the bill. Threatening to contact the Sheriff, the leaders went back inside with the receipt and sorted things out. Once the doors were closed in our car, we all burst into laughter. Although the day didn’t go according to schedule at all, we made the best of the setbacks and changes, and enjoyed some laughs that are sure to last the rest of the trip.