We got up very early to very, very cold temperatures and momma and daddy packing everything that was left into their huge backpacks while Lolo and I stayed warm in the car. We then drove a little bit where momma made us get into a strange man’s truck and ride in the very back.
We were a little more than miffed at this – well – I especially was because I am NOT a dog that rides in the back of the vehicle! I ride in the middle! Or the front!
To be honest I think Lolo was worried he was going to get dumped somewhere and end up living life as a REZ dog (which he probably would thinks is SUPER awesome for about 18 hours), but I know momma would never do that to ME since I’m her little ball of sunshine.
We drove for 1.5 hours and got out of the man’s truck at the Whitehouse Campground trailhead into Paria canyon. Apparently the plan was for us to hike 40 miles down the canyon to end up at the place where we left our car.
Momma and daddy hefted on their huge backpacks and we were off. The beginning was really awesome because there was lots of space to run around and lots and LOTS of bunnies to sniff. Lolo and I had a lot of fun and stayed really warm running around.
Then we had to get down into the riverbed because the walls of the canyon were getting too steep. This was OK for a while because we were able to stay mostly dry, but had to keep crossing back and forth over the river.
The tough part about this was that it had been SO cold that all the water was covered in ice. Sometimes the ice was strong enough for Lolo and I to walk across, but sometimes it was not and we would break through the ice. It was very difficult to predict when we would fall through the ice and we did not like it.
Momma was freaking out because she did not like to see us slipping on the ice and hated even more when we would break through. She was convinced I was going to slice my leg wide open on all the sharp bits of ice. She put on some Musher’s Wax because we were on top of ice of all kinds of textures. Some of it was puffy like popcorn and then you’d step on it and sink down 2 feet. It was so weird!
As we logged more and more miles there became fewer places for Lolo and I to find bunnies, and we started having to cross over the water more and more. By now momma and daddy had both broken through ice and were wet up to their knees! Momma was wearing these boots that held all the water in right next to her feet instead of draining out, so like this one time we got her feet REALLY wet while we were hiking up to Frog Lake in the snow after crossing a stream, she was getting SUPER cold.
We got into the Narrows – which is one of the most famous parts of this hike and it was now hardly crossing water anymore because we were basically ALL THE WAY walking in the water and we started to all get REALLY cold. And it started to get even deeper! Both Lolo and I were now wet all the way up our backs and it wasn’t really fun anymore.
Momma was worried that it would get even worse where the flow from the Buckskin Gulch comes in, and we would still have several miles to go before we even had a hope of getting out of the cold water and 20 degree air temps in the shade! Not to mention that we still had to somehow warm up and dry off enough to not freeze to death at night.
I knew I needed to act!
So I stopped. And I barked. And I refused to move. I was on a little bit of solid ice in the middle of the river. I barked. I barked in my way that said NO MORE.
Daddy thought about trying to help me like he had helped Lolo who was too scared and cold to keep moving a minute before me, but I said NOPE. This was enough.
It was time to go back.
It’s nice that momma and daddy have enough respect for me to know that I was right.
So we went back.
As soon as we got out of the narrows we stopped for momma to try to warm her feet up, which she couldn’t feel anymore. She then wrapped them up in plastic bags to shove back into her wet boots. We were all kind of hating life.
The only problem was we were going back to the trailhead where we did not have a car, and the people who run the shuttles (like the one we had in the morning )way out in the desert where there are just miles and miles of empty land do not live lives like many of us with our cell phones and computers – so it wasn’t as simple as getting a ride back.
We spent the night in an awesome campsite where we could run around and explore while momma and daddy worried about how low on water we were and whether we could reach anyone to come take us 1.5 hours drive back to the car.
Now you may say “Olaf, you had to cross all that water – why didn’t you get some then?” Well, the answer is that everyone warned us not to try to filter water from the river unless you wanted to ruin your filter. The river is so full of sediment that it clogs all filters, which is why hikers fill up at the very few springs along the way.
Momma was carrying an extra sleeping bag just for me and Lolo, and also she brought our doggy coats to try to stay warm. We were pretty tired and put ourselves to bed shortly after eating dinner.
Momma and daddy stayed up a little bit but had to share a small dinner since they did not have enough water to each re-hydrate their own. Momma did have a whole plastic bag of wine though!
So how and when did we get out? Or are we still there? Haha, no way because momma would have long ago ran out of wine! But stay tuned for part 3 of my desert trip report, coming soon!