Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 3, 2012

Down the switchbacks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:59 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Green River. Red Duckie. Dawn.

“It’s safest if you drive switchbacks without a seatbelt on.” Bill’s instruction was so counter-intuitive that I shot him a glance that must have said, “Do you think I’m crazy?!?” We were perched at the top of a thousand vertical feet of winding dirt road taking us down to Mineral Bottom, where we’d leave a shuttle vehicle. I am not overly fond of driving on sandy gashes cut into a cliffside, but I’m willing to push my comfort zone in order to improve my 4WD skills have an adventure. The reasoning behind Bill’s statement was that if one had to exit one’s vehicle quickly (read: truck going over edge) it’s best to not be belted in. I sighed and unbuckled myself, shifted into 4 High, and followed the wildlife biologist’s truck down to the Green River boat launch.

Green River. Yellow Duckie. Moments after sunrise. Yes, it is as beautiful as it looks…

My long-awaited weekend was here; we’d be on the river for two days, surveying critical habitat for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. I was beyond excited. If there is one thing this Minnesotan misses in the desert, it’s being on water.

After unloading our gear down in Spring Canyon and inflating our two duckies for a dawn start, we crawled into the back of the pick-up to sleep. Nobody EVER uses this old track along the Green River and we knew we wouldn’t be in anybody’s way parked on the ‘road’ — boats, cooler, life jackets, dry bags, backpacks, water jugs, and truck.

Five minutes into my sleeping bag, I hear a new sound: CLIP CLOP CLIP CLOP “WHOA.” “Easy.” Two of the grimiest cowboys I’ve ever seen were riding by the light of the quarter moon, their path now blocked.

~ To be continued ~

4 Comments »

  1. That would be a rustlers moon lol thats what they called it in the book lonesome dove. I do the same thing “camping in the truck” the snakes and scorpions rarely climb in.

    Comment by superdave0002 — June 3, 2012 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

    • I actually PREFER sleeping on the ground to sleeping in a truck, but time was of the essence that night and we wanted to make a hasty dawn departure. Love the “rustlers’ moon” concept. They weren’t rustling… they were trying to round up errant cows and calves…

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 3, 2012 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  2. Comment by midsummerman — June 3, 2012 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  3. no story can end well that has grimy cowboys in the middle of the night riding into camp……

    Comment by john — June 4, 2012 @ 5:45 am | Reply


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