A few days later we checked out a small slot which looked great on the map but turned out to be a shallow and open crease in the blond Navajo sandstone. That was my first dud. Up to then, my participation in exploring had come after the canyon had been scouted and confirmed as being a worthy technical slot. I had benefited from my partners' experience to such an extent that I wasn't even aware of it. It had seemed to me as if there were slot canyons all over the place, which were just waiting to be found. Now I had a small taste of the disappointment that can be the product of some fairly tough and lengthy labor. I was just beginning to see the truth.
For the remainder of the Powell Trip, we enjoyed some established canyons of very high quality, while also taking the time to engage in a couple more explorations. One slot we looked into was of moderate difficulty for most of its length, until it turned into quite a daunting slot with several unanchorable potholes, dropping into the dark at the end of the canyon. We discussed our options and, for the first time, I observed the dynamics of group indecision, brought on by a myriad of reasons. When we backed out, it was the right thing to do but I was enlightened as to how fear, fatigue, heat, time factors, and all the accumulated concerns, can pile on and easily make a group turn back when they intended to go on through.
Our final exploration of the Trip was successful in every way and left me with a feeling of accomplishment and a load of great memories. For the second time I was out front on unknown terrain, and it seemed a magnificent place to be.