Prattle & Jaw

Two blogs about a whole lot of nothing

Filtering by Tag: Hiking

The Wave

What a day. 

Up at 5am after a very disturbing dream involving my family and a faulty hot air balloon...anyway, up, breakfast in my room, pack (4 litres of water, energy bars, bananas, cheese and crackers, dates, sun cream and camera), then a quick cup of coffee and I'm on the road. The mesas behind me are beautifully misty and I have to stop to try to take a photo. I'm immediately annoyed I didn't bring my other lens. 

Misty morning

Misty morning

GPS tells me that it's about an hour to the trailhead, but I can see it's not quite right. I've had a close look at various maps online and the GPS is only taking me to the road off which the trailhead lies. Doesn't matter; as long as I get to the road I can just keep going until I see the trailhead. I leave Arizona for Utah, and find the road, which takes me back down in to Arizona. I've read that it's impassable if it's been raining but as it hasn't rained for about a week, I think I'll be OK. And I am, mostly. The unpaved road has been washed away in four or five places, but the gullies left are quite easy to navigate – except one of them. One of them makes me stop, and wonder if I should even attempt it. It's a vertical drop for about two feet, then about another foot up the other side. I decide to give it a go, and make it – albeit scraping the front of the car through the sand and mud. I drive on, and after about 30 minutes, I finally see the trailhead. Here we go. 

I won't drag you through the whole hike, but I will say it was longer than I expected, and a little harder too. There was a lot of hiking through sand, which is horrible. It's 99% unmarked, so I had to stop a lot and make sure I was on the right path (the Bureau of Land Management, who are responsible for The Wave, send you a little map together with other information when you win your spot. It's simple, but works). Most of it looked like this:

Eventually, I could see the end. You arrive at the back, which is also quite beautiful. 

Thanks to the rain, we had puddles

Thanks to the rain, we had puddles

I wasn't alone, but after a while, people move on, and for a short while, I had it all to myself. 

Getting *that* shot

Getting *that* shot

It's absolutely beautiful. Do you know those places that just get more and more beautiful the more you look at them? The Wave is one of them.

That shot 

That shot 

I sat on a ridge in the shade for my lunch, and had a perfect view. It was so quiet, and I just stared at it. Magical. 

Not a bad view for a lunch of cheese and crackers

Not a bad view for a lunch of cheese and crackers

It's so soft. The 20 person limit is vital for this place to exist. It'd be gone in less than a year if it was a free for all. People do hike in without a permit, but they risk heavy fines and luckily, the lack of signs on the hike probably put most people off (it's also completely exposed, which made for a sweaty hike back). 

After a good wander around, I decided to start back before the midday sun kicked in. 

I get a little lost, but find my way back to the path quickly. It's incredibly hot, there's no breeze, and, just as I'm approaching the end of the hike, I run out of water. Luckily, I've only got about 700 metres to go. I pass a man and women who stop to ask me about the hike. They must be mad setting out in this heat, but there you go. They ask if I have a permit, and if I saw a ranger at The Wave. They haven't got a permit. I'm in two minds about how to reply, but can't think quickly enough and say that I didn't see a ranger but apparently one is about. The man goes on to say that he's entered the lottery three times, never won a spot, and has finally given up. They've come from Germany, and seem so excited. I take the easy way out, and tell them it's incredible, and to have a great day before I turn around and start back down. Then, just as they're about to round the corner, I remember that they won't have the map if they didn't get a permit. I run back up the hill (I actually ran. If you knew how hot it was you'd be impressed), and tell them the hike isn't marked and they can have my map. I might not approve of them hiking without a permit, but people die out there. They are very happy and off we all go. 

I'm exhilarated to get back to the car, but first I head to the toilets. Outside, in the shade on the floor, are some bottles of water. They're sealed, and I've no idea what they're doing there, but hope that they're left for hikers, like me, who've run out of water. I gulp it down, gratefully. 

Then, the drive back. And the gully. As I face the two feet, I start to think that I'll have to go the other way back to Page, which is just under three times the distance. I really don't want to do that, so I decide to give it a go. First attempt just left me stuck in the gully. Front bumper against the two feet, back bumper against the one foot. Just stuck there, wheels spinning in the dust. Hmmm. 

For a minute or two I have no idea what to do. Then I decide I'm just being silly, and just gun it. The backside skids around, the wheels spin as I perch on the edge and then boom! I'm up! Brilliant. 

The drive back is uneventful, and all I can think of is jumping in to Lake Powell. I get home, I eat some chicken, I change, and then I go and jump in Lake Powell. It's too hot, so I come back to my room which is where I am now. 

A shower, and a general sort out of stuff, and here I am, in bed, writing this. I will have a beer, have a burger and then hopefully Skype with my family. God, I miss them. 

Tomorrow I head to Bryce Canyon, and Kanab, but could quite happily go home now. 

Sedona

It's been a long hot day here in Sedona. I've eaten far too much (this goes for the whole trip - bar the canyon hike - and my body is crying out for vegetables. They're surprisingly hard to find here), but I've also hiked around 6 or 7 miles (9 - 11 kilometres. That sounds better) so it's not all bad. 

I started out with a big breakfast, the norm nowadays, then despite me wanting to just relax, I hit the road out to Cathedral Rock, which is a really, really, really big rock. You can hike up it, so I thought I'd do that (I know I said I'd hike up the big hill from yesterday, but I thought I could either do just that, or I could do multiple things. I went for the multiple instead).

You have to buy a parking pass for the hike, so I do. Imagine my surprise and joy when I get my six dollars change in dollar coins! I get three gold and three silver. Dollar coins aren't very popular here, I'm not sure why, but I think they're great. Anyway, back to hike. It was steep, hot, sweaty and great fun.

This doesn't look steep, but it really was

The views from the top were fantastic, the perfect place to just sit and stare.

I seem to do a lot of that recently, but that's OK. I kind of wish I'd bought my book, instead I struggle to take a decent selfie to make into a postcard for my parents. The sun is in my eyes and in the end I just sort of give up. Sorry parents. 

I head back down and get stuck for a while on the steep bit as I let people up before I go down. I'm nice like that, and you know, it's the right thing to do. Besides, I get to sit and stare while they huff and puff.

Once in the car, I decide to go for the Devil's Bridge hike. It's pretty hot by now, so I swing by a petrol - sorry - gas station and buy lots of fluids. I hike and hike and hike, and when I get to the top, I want to puke. There's a man walking across the bridge and acting like he's standing in the middle of a football pitch.

My knees go funny and my stomach wants to come out of my mouth. I turn around and pretend it's not happening.

Then I head over - facing my fear or something - but don't get all the way across. I'm fairly sure it'll fall down when I'm on the other side, and I'll have to live there. Great view, but crappy food. 

I do the sitting and staring and then make my way down. Now it's really hot and I'm happy when I'm able to get back in the car. It's past one now and I'm hot and bothered.

I drove an FJ Cruiser on my last trip. Didn't see many then but now there's a lot of them. Good car. I liked this number plate

I head back to the motel, lie on the bed and turn on the cold air. I turn on the telly, and Aliens is on. I'm reminded of that bit in Friends when Joey thinks Die Hard will be better when watched in London. I feel the same right now. It's somehow incredibly cosy to be on the bed, watching Aliens, with an overcast Sedona just outside my window. I drink a lot of water, eat some energy/protein bars left over from the Grand Canyon, and watch Sigourney say, "Get away from her you BITCH!" It's brilliant. 

Once I've cooled down and seen the queen alien sucked into space, I decided to make my way to Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. A stupa is a big mound or hill thing that contains Buddhist relics.

This one has thousands of prayer scrolls and something else I've forgotten in it. It's very peaceful and pretty, and there's a huge ant hill close by. I watch the ants for quite a long time. They're crazy things. Crazy. I also meet some Gambel quails, which are quails, oddly enough, and very funny ones at that. They sound a bit like a cartoon quail, and just sort of run about making funny noises. They were very nice to watch while I thought about things. 

Where I sat

After just under an hour, I move on. Next stop is the airport mesa which apparently is the best spot for the sunset. I arrive around an hour before the sun is due to set, find a stone and sit.

The sun very slowly moves down, and everyone else very quickly arrives. There's lots of cloud so it's not the spectacular show it can be, but it's still pretty fine. 

I make a move before the world and his wife do, but somehow still manage to get caught by some random lonely dude in the car park. He has that lonely person skill of stringing sentences together without stopping so you just can't get away. I think I end up being quite rude and can hear him still talking to himself as I walk away. I drive off and sit paused at the T-junction. I hear a horn honk, once, then twice, and turn to the left to see what's going on. It's the loney dude honking at me and waving goodbye. I wave and then make my turn. So long. 

I head to the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill as I hear they've got lots of beer and ribs, and it's my last night so I don't care. They have a tasting menu of 7 beers in 5 ounce glasses. I don't understand ounces, and seeing as I'm driving, I don't want to order 7 huge beers by accident. I ask the waitress how many ounces there are in a large beer, thinking I'd be OK if it were the equivalent of one beer. She says, "Well there are 35 ounces in a litre, and a beer is a pint, so..." I don't even know what to say to her, so just order one large beer. She looks a bit confused, but trust me, she wasn't as confused as I was. 

The beer was good, the ribs weren't so great, but what can you do. I'm now watching Parks and Recreation, which is one of the best programmes ever, and sitting on my bed. 

Tomorrow is the last day. I have to be in the airport at 5.30pm, so I've got almost a full day to get from here to there. I'll make a couple of stops on the way, and try to make the last day a good one. I'm sad to be going, I really am. I love this country, I love this state. It's so beautiful. But at home, I've got a beautiful wife, and although he's probably not that beautiful right now, my unborn son is also waiting for me. I hear he's getting quite active, so I'll have to get some of those kicks felt. It's so weird. Cool, but weird. 

Right, I have to pack. 

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.