Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Leaving the tech-world behind and the never-ending list of things to do, my family headed down to an isolated and beautiful part of Utah; Kodachrome State Park.

Food, water, hiking shoes, sunblock, a good book and a sense of adventure...that's all I needed for this year's spring break.

I noted and photographed great beauty that week, but I also noted something that I can't record.  Quiet.  Absolute, wonderful quiet.  The kind of quiet that begs to be filled with reflection.  I realized how little I had done this in the hustle and bustle of my everyday life.

Despite being wholly out of shape, I put one step in front of the other and let my mind (not my body) dictate what I would and could do. 

One day, we had decided to do another hike before the sun set.  It was to an arch, but what really caught our attention was a rock crevice.  My husband had scrambled up this sandy draw and stood at the base of the crevice. He couldn't get up, it was too loose and steep. 

I would not be deterred!  "Let me give you a hand or push you."  We tried, but it was too slippery.  He tried again, this time getting a bit of momentum (not much room to do that) and made it up.  Woo Hoo! 

Then I tried a few times, but there was NO way!  I just couldn't get any purchase, there were no hand or foot holds and the sand made it very slippery.  Steve was already up at the top, seeing what was on the other side.  It was killing me.  I wanted to be there.  I wanted to see too!

He said to me, "You have to commit".

He was right.  I was letting my fear get the best of me.  I tried again and this time made it to the point where I could brace myself on the narrow walls of the crevice.

As I reached the top, perched precariously on a very narrow piece of ground, I saw the other side.

Two more narrow, steep crevices headed down to the valley floor. 

I was tempted to follow them, but they turned corners and for all I knew, it was a 100 foot drop off at the end.  I may be adventurous, but I'm not stupid! 

We congratulated ourselves and moved on.  I was exhilarated!
Our next adventure, the next day, was one of many slot canyons in the area.  You can see the beginning of it here as I pose with my brother after we climbed back out.

Here is the entrance.  Deep, dark and 'wow, really?  How am I going to get down there?"

My son Jordan didn't hestitate and was down pretty quickly.  Again, I was in a situation where I had to commit.  There was no going back on this descent.  And then, it bore the question, will I be able to get back up?
I love slot canyons, I'm absolutely fascinated by them.  I had to get down there!  I took a deep breath and went for it.  It wasn't elegant, but I did it.  

We entered a hidden world of narrow passages, delicately carved rock, a playground of light and potential danger.

We saw evidence of violent flash floods that would sweep heavy tree trunks and large rocks like they were toys.  The slot widened and the clifts got higher.  It was spectacular and I would have missed the whole thing if I hadn't had the courage to descend.

Of course, these little hiking adventures might have only resulted in a bruised knee, (not that much of a risk) but the thrill of moving forward reminded me that it's been awhile since I challenged myself. 

I reflected on what that word, commit, means to me.  To commit is to move forward with a decision, despite fear of failure, despite fear of getting hurt.  To commit is the process, not the result.  It's that process that has taught me the most, defined my character and given me joy.

I liken that slot canyon to my 29-year marriage to my partner and husband, Steven.  The greatest committment I have and will ever make in this life.  

But committments don't have to be big and sometimes all we need is a small one to inject some excitement and joy into our lives. The next time I hesitate to move forward... to commit, I'm going to remember my ascent and my descent this last week and my husband's encouraging words "you have to commit!"

Grosvenor's Arch - Stunning!  Click on images to enlarge

Savannah, my daughter, me and my Mom

A cold and snowy Bryce Canyon

Spectacular vista of the area


shortandsweet said...

Great pictures...great commentary!

HR said...

LOVED all the pictures! Not sure I could "commit" to that climb or descent though:) Felt like I was there, thanks for sharing!

M-C said...

My days of climbing are far behind me, but I envy you that wonderful trip with your family! The pictures are all great, but the last one just took my breath away!

Susan Neal said...

That's why I left it for last M-C!

Rob'n'Mon said...

You're inspirational!

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