Following trails that beckon is life at it’s best. Free wandering with no schedule or goals has served me well since childhood exploring creeks and prairies. I’ve been trained to watch and wait for the guidance but I’ll admit there’s is a new learning curve with the addition of the off-road teardrop camper. It’s keeping my guardian angels – and me – wide awake.
This day was for exploring the BLM off-roads outside Moab, Utah. No map, no cell service and no worries. It’s a Subaru with ample off-road GPS coverage right? A dropped pin marked the starting point and I was free to breathe in jaw-dropping vistas. It was an easy trail with occasional rough rocks or sinking sand spots.
The road transformed to true 4×4 when I turned a corner and hit the brakes. A gate in the middle of nowhere? Prying it open was easy since it wasn’t locked so I squeezed my rig through. That’s when the reality of The Canyon slapped me.
Narrow, ridiculously steep grade, no safety rails and the most amazing, adrenaline-inducing experience calling my name! The Subaru and teardrop had torn up off roads for days and I was primed for the grand prize dive down The Canyon.
I glanced at Rocky’s wide, trusting smile and immediately saw my four spectacular adult kids expecting me home for the holidays. A raven flew overhead mimicking Daddy’s familiar refrain “pull your head out of your ass Cindy!”
Perhaps a bit of recon was in order. Rapid, shallow breathing and heart-pounding adrenaline with knees bent, eyes straight ahead helped resist the abyss tractor beam pulling me over the edge on the switchback curves. Barely. There was just enough width for the car and RV. No margin for error, changing my mind or turning around. There might be a clearance and mud issue. But I was a hound dog on a scent. Ride The Canyon or bust!
Admittedly I’ve got a few marks from life “or bust” experiences and a bit of a hang up about being the only surviving parent.
Time to pull out the big guns and use a technique honed over eight years in the halls of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Call in my angels when stakes are life OR death high. Employ the hallowed Coin Toss. Best two out of three wins. Heads means I go for it, tails I turn around and find a camp for the night.
First toss – heads. Second – tails. Standing inches from the cliffhanger I breathed in the delicious knowing that the outcome of that third toss would be my best option. No doubts. Pure faith. In that breath all the hooks and attachments of the adventure, adrenaline, and drama vanished. No need to do anything. Just lean in. Be still and know. The final toss and knowing occurred simultaneously. Tails. I’m out.
My best guess is I was in the Sheep Canyon area. GPS noted Mineral and Dead Horse Point Roads. I found an OHV trail map sign post indicating I was somewhere in the Dubinky area. Maybe The Canyon was a piece of Hell Roaring or Chicken Corners Trails. The coin toss occurred at the point requiring gate entry, is pinched between rocks on the right and the abyss on the left and drops over 1,000 feet via narrow, rocky, muddy switchbacks. Chicken Corners is where Moab area guides allow “chicken” passengers to walk, rather than ride. And Hell Roaring Canyon descriptions involve the word “pucker.”
I probably have too much faith in Beverly (my Subaru Outback) but I think she’d make The Canyon. Pulling my Outback teardrop camper affectionally dubbed Hillbilly? Sheer lunacy.
I can count on two things in life. My free spirit is comfortable with blind, ignorant leaps and it can heal more than it hurts if my heart stays open. May this inner knowing, my guardians, and the sacred Coin Toss always have my back!