Joan and I recently adopted some new sites for our volunteer role—a chance to spend more time in a place we enjoy while giving back.
Before heading into the canyon, we enjoyed our customary camping out the night before with our customary views of the unblemished night sky, the Milky Way, and our usual hot drinks with a “bit of something” added.
And once into the canyon? What a place it is with its canyons, sinuous walls, and reminders of the past generations who walked the paths.
But more than the images and structures, I enjoyed the subtle reminders of people who lived here.
With its ancient hand and fingerprints, the mortar spoke to the craftsperson who made the walls where people lived hundreds of years ago.
And the thatching and cordage from another structure spoke of the applied patience to create these dwellings.
As the sun set during our rambles in the canyon, we found a quiet spot just above the canyon floor that provided warmth from the sinking cold and a grand view of the walls soaking up the last rays of the sun.
We continued our ambling and saw more and more with every bending of the canyon wall.
We eventually reached a well-known panel that contained images from different eras, many well over two thousand years old.
A well-known image may indicate strife towards the later years of inhabitation in this canyon –
But I found the less apparent images perhaps more interesting in their way. One depicting a staff found in museums and on many other images throughout the region –
And one, from what others postulated, a potential eclipse depiction –
The one higher above had a similar shape, color, and style to other images found in the region –
We soon left the site behind and climbed steeply up the canyon cliff around pour-offs following cairns and an eroded route.
We reached a different geology layer, and the way became easier versus the steeper approach from earlier.
And, no surprise, we found various structures dotting this relatively wider portion of the canyon closer to the rim.
We made our way out of the canyon, back to the parking area, and then to a favorite spot for another night of camping.
The following morning, we met with some friends for a nearby hike to an even lesser-known place.
As with us, Kathleen and Jeremy made their lives out here; we have friends in common, enjoy the wild places, and have a similar view of how to spend our free time.
But they have one difference from us – They own and ruin a guiding business. A guiding business where they’ll take you to some beautiful places. And they’ll let you pack your gear with goats!
A novelty for Joan and I, we found the goats very well trained and, considering the depiction of their distant cousins on the canyon walls, well-suited for the terrain.
They eat all the weeds, leave little waste behind, and are easily transported in a smaller pickup truck’s bed and camper shell.
Overall, it was an enjoyable hike to a place Joan and I have not seen too much previously. And it’s great to catch up with friends.
We treasure every time we go out into the areas around the home and never take for granted how fortunate we are to live in a place that affords us such memorable times every week.
Want to know more about goat-packing?