Monstro: Swallowed Whole

"How's this spot?" I ask in the fading light.

"It's fine, just like the last 50 we've passed," she growls.

She's getting hangry, that special form of irritation that develops from lack of food. She's still smiling though. She's always smiling.

We lay our bikes down in the sand and begin stripping them of the three days worth of food, water, camping gear, and packrafts needed for our intended adventure. With dinner settling, we relax, enjoying our immersion in the desert environment. 

More and more I've been learning that the experiences with the most meaning and greatest metal escape are those that become totally immersive. This means outdoors in an area devoid of others, little to no phone service, and one that requires physical work/pain/sweat/second guessing.  

To remove societies distractions and responsibilities and let the natural world swallow you as if it were Pinocchio's whale.

While a terrible cliche, the trip is about the journey and not a singular destination. The means are as important as the what or where. Hiking, biking, packrafting, climbing. Choose a combination and go. Feel the sand between your sock encased toes, notice goosebumps rise with the chilly dawn wind, fight sleep until you count three, five, or ten stars shooting overhead.

Photo: KG

Let a place fill you with wonder and awe.

I haven't felt my ass kiss the silty river bottom in the past eight minutes. Hope builds, maybe the channel has become more pronounced and we can actually float through our surroundings. Hope ends with a string of obscenities and dragging my boat through mud soup until it floats again. Keri disappears around the bend ahead. For the hundredth time, 30 pounds has been the difference between walking and floating.


Photo: KG
Photo: KG
We cover eight miles on the Dirty Devil river in just over five hours. Continuing with our original plan would mean not resurfacing from this immersion until after we were due to be back at work. We bail and reverse our route.  

Photo: KG 
Me, pedaling up from under. Photo: KG


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