I had only kayaked harbors lined by multi-million dollar homes and luxury sailboats when I agreed to the four day paddle to Escalante River on Lake Powell. Occasional white caps and bubbles from the carp disrupt the otherwise flat surface of the dark water. I tried to help Jeep launch his bright yellow 22-foot Necky Tofino double kayak at Hall’s Crossing. But my sandal stuck in the slimy mud and with a fantastic flailing of arms, I fell backwards into the murky Colorado River. Bugger. I had dirtied the one pair of shorts I had been able to stuff in the 13-inch dry sack that held all my clothes and personal items. Space was a precious commodity in the kayak.
Feeling a little shy, I climbed into the front cockpit and nervously tugged at the biking gloves he had loaned me to prevent calluses. I glanced up at the canyon walls streaked with desert varnish and dug my paddle in the water. Unfortunately before we reached the first bend, I hit his paddle twice (maybe more, not saying exactly how many times).
As night fell, we found a beach without excessive horsetail or rocks to pull the boat upon the shore, a flat sandy area for our sleeping bags, and caves to tuck into “in case it stormed.” Shit.
I strove to concentrate on the thrill of adventure as I uncurled my cramped fingers to unpack the boat’s two hatches. My self-image as an outdoor wild child, strong and unafraid of anything appeared to be in eminent danger. I grabbed my sack of clothes and hauled out food and sleeping bags – no tent – for the first night under the stars.
You’ve got to be kidding me. I thought, looking at his favorite heels of mine, a rhinestone collar, bunny ears, and fishnet knee-high stockings. I held up the bag, “What’s this?” I asked with raised eyebrows.
He winked and gave me a devilish grin as he pulled out the stove and began to cook rice. I laughed. Well, tired as each day might make me, the nights were guaranteed to be entertaining….