1st Time Past the 2nd Waterfall

“They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can’t stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that’s a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!”
C. JoyBell C.

I have to admit that every day that passes I find myself more and more in love with Matt.

I was sooooo looking forward to today and it did not disappoint.

You see, we spent Saturday morning at the 5k race at the school where I teach. Loved it. Kids were super cute. Lots of friends there. Gorgeous morning. No complaints.

It was just exhausting.

We took a nap in the afternoon to rally, then really got to work. Took all the backdrops and props and light stands and cameras and more props and more stands and tip jar and clipboard to the Mesa Theater and set up to shoot pictures for Zombie Prom.

Then it was a short 5 hours of shooting scary costumes on drunk people while having our ears raped by electronica.

It was just exhausting.

By 2 am we hit the sack. By 10 am we were still there. By 11 we had coffee and by 1 we were on the trail headed up No Thoroughfare Canyon.

The goal of today was two-fold:

1: Spend the entire time in exclusive company with each other, and

2: Find a way up past the 2nd waterfall

I didn’t care if it took us the rest of the day…I knew the route was there, but I had never found it. Today, with my best adventure partner ever, we sought it out.

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I figured if we got to the second waterfall then turned around and looked to our left a lot then we would find it. So that’s what we did.

Of course whilst we were at the very very parched waterfall, I decided to see how far up it I could climb. Matt didn’t say as much, but I know I worried him by climbing so high on a slick surface. I wised up though and came back down, sliding on my butt and accumulating a couple of bruises.

When we finally found the ‘route’, I could hardly believe it. It was an immensely steep gully that takes those who find it nearly straight up the canyon wall, with only fist-sized boulders and occasional ledges that only threaten injury with a miss-placed hand or foot or balance point or word or breath or thought.

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It took us some time….I’m not sure how long exactly….but we ended up making it to the top. A more intense climb I have not had since I rose to the top of Mt. Sneffels in the summer of 2015.

All the while my stalwart companion led the way, pushing himself and dragging me with will alone until we found it.

And when we did, I couldn’t stop giggling.

We had done it! The sandstone cliffs rose above us even as the blackness of the gneiss fell below our feet. It was a gorgeous slab of wilderness. We gazed down 700 feet to the tops of yellowed cottonwood trees below us, and marveled at the perfect symmetry of each hidden alcove as it breached red rock walls to join the canyon proper.

The perspective was breathtaking.

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We are now planning to take an over-nighter-or-two with a tent and explore this wilderness more.

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On the way down, even as we were discussing how few people actually make this immensely challenging climb, we were met by a man climbing the very gully we were about to descend! Imagine our surprise!

We had a short chat with him, acknowledged the recognition of a kindred spirit, and gave him ample leeway on the descent.

Once we hit the canyon bottom, our feet finding the familiar precambrian formation of the basement rocks, it was a short 3-mile stroll back to the car.

We talked of everything and nothing. At one point I became distracted by a looming, dark, foreboding monolith rising above us…and I put my hand into a cactus. Matt did not hesitate, but stopped and began to pull the spines from my fingers, even as they bled.

Our weary legs did not fail us, and we closed out the night with fried chicken, Moscoto (for me) and Dirty Hippy (for him), as well as a long soak and a deep sleep.

Life. Is. Bliss.