Monthly Archives: May 2009

Operation Sparkle Novation (RM VII Escalante Redux)

“…and we shall name it the Butte of the Cross”

Day 0: Congregation in Las Vegas, NV (12 for 12 successfully not lost backpacks) and driving through Bryce Canyon to Escalante, UT to stay at the outfitters and prep next to the chicken coop with our free wireless. Chad the lizard.

Day 1: Hot breakfast burritos at the outfitters, 8 miles down Harris wash past oompa loompa orange canyons and long, bitey snakes. Field repairs to stave off cumulative broken (pant rips, clogged water filters, unretractable camera lenses, my toe…) and the first real night of stargazing on the tarp with our new chart: in addition to Swoosh and Diode from last year we were able to add Bucket, in addition to the ISS flyover.

Day 2: Sunrise and coffee on a bluff avoiding the oatmeal flavor debates down below, 8 miles of systematic river crossings to Death Sparkle campsite and some kite photography eventually hindered by software failure. Cows, calves, and transparent scorpions.

Day 3: To the confluence with the Escalante where I accidentally drank a bee, short day so a full afternoon of slot canyon and waterfall exploration. Unsuccessful negotiation of how big a hectare might be. Quicksand and we should all learn the harmonica; Strong Words shall be had with Katadyn about the Hiker Pro performance in silty conditions. To Fence Canyon for with the motivation of 16 year Lagavulin at the end. The Game begins. Where do you do magic? (prestidigitation station) Where do you lose your free will? (predestination station) Where are you when you are on duty? (station station) Where do wolves cry? (ululation station).

Day 4: Bacon in the morning. Golden Cathedral, Neon and Ringtail side canyons, 600 meters through a shoulder width fissure to a conference room big enough for all of us. Petroglyphs. Due to conservation of broken, the pants were patched and the pressure membrane on the Katadyn popped, and one software failure for the kite photography was traded to the gods by the sacrifice of Danny’s lens. Ranger Bill Wolverton explained the eradication program for Russian Olives. DEET ate my first aid kit.

Day 5: Madness? Yes! Battle on the beach culminating in Batman defeating Hitler’s ghost after a double cross by the turtle and a massacre of the left tank assault forces.

Day 6: To Egypt and showers. Mexican dinner. Danny, Kate, and Janet drive all night to get to the airport while everyone else sleeps. Techno, chicken and waffles and a carwash to cover the javelin stick through the radiator.

Day 7: Kate and Janet’s Raging Detour begins with both of us covered by Bloody Mary and champagne spills but improves with shopping. dinner at Fix. Others saw Bryce.

Day 8: Unspeakably wonderful brunch at Enoteca San Marco, Mario Batali’s place. A smidgen of gambling, some NBA playoffs, and floating back to the airport, head over heels in love with the desert.

Things we learned: Knuckle bandaids are great for heels. Lizards make twitchy sounds in the bushes but ominous, lasting rustles are more probably snakes. Official coloration scheme: Red (Ethan), Orange (Matt), Yellow (Kate), Green (Danny), Blue (Michael), Purple (Elisa), Pink (Janet), White (Jin), Black (Nick), Grey (Jen), Brown (Lindsay), Plaid (Geoff).

See you next year.