FreezeFest III: Rock Art in the Swell


Now two plus days removed from any substantial weather, it is time to say adieu to Arches. She has served us well, provided treats, kept us safe, while the rest of the canyon world found its way back "into condition." Bone tired, and driving past the Swell, Tom pulls out a wild card. We had talked about the Wildhorse picto panel. Ryan and I had missed it, in years past. Tom got energized with the thought he could find it in the dark. He would later say that a little exercise to loosen the legs after our physical day was a big part of it.

Artwork in the Swell.

Flash Photos by Ryan Cornia.

Love this place.

In the dark, we wandered. Night hiking is a whole different animal. Time and distance plays tricks on you. What I call the "earlies" come into play. This affliction leads quite often to "I think they are there, before they are" and effects most folks. Tom after a few halting starts, sounds the Eureka! We sit under the overhang, looking up at the art. The sky, in the hour or two goes from fully cloudy to stars and back and forth, over and over again. In unseasonably warm air in our nook, we stay silent...then we nap.

Artwork is cool. A magical spot.

Tom breaks the spell and we hike back and do the hour of driving to North Wash. A 10:45 PM arrival, followed by setting camp (we are quite quick at it now) and a small fire sees us to the Midnight hour and a New Year. The third in a row I have experienced in this obscure and quiet corner of the world. To good friends! It is supposed to storm big time. Winter storm warnings for not only the immediate area, but statewide and regionally too. The third annual New Year's Black Hole is the plan for 10 hours from now. Still warm. Will it rain? Get cold and snow? Is White Canyon still flooding? What will the weather be like in the high country feeding the canyon? Has recent flooding planted fresh land mines in the canyon. Guess it is dumb to lose sleep over what you can't control. Let it play out, for us to see. We will go and peek and then decide whether to or not. The edge is back... I'll admit it... and I like it.

Freezefest? You call this freezefest?

A small fire wards off the sleepies, a little bit.