Red Rock Canyon Day 01byLuciousBi-Writes4U©
Day One: the hike into the park
Shelby and Paige had decided to go to Red Rock Canyon for the second weekend of their spring break. After spending Easter weekend with their families the two girls were ready to get back to nature, and to the solitude and tranquility of being without their parents and grandparents and pesky younger siblings that wouldn't leave them be for 5 seconds at a time. Always asking about boys and college and are the college parties as fun as they say etc.
They'd planned three trails to hike. Each would take a full day and they graduated in length and difficulty from novice hiker to advanced. And each was a little further out into Mother Nature than the other. It was a great time of the year for hiking there during the days as the rocks warmed in the spring sun and the flowering vegetation had just begun to bloom. The nights however in the lower elevations of the canyon were still going to be very chilly-as much as 30 degrees in difference from daytime to nighttime.
They'd brought along their insulated sleeping bags, both of them big enough for two people and they were the type that could be zipped together to make a big warm burrito out of the two of them if they needed to huddle for warmth. They'd remembered all their gear, a small tent, cooking supplies first aid kits in both packs, hikers whistles cooking utensils and preparations, lanterns-the works.
On day one they parked Shelby's SUV in the east side hikers lot so it would be easy to find. They'd made sure to call home and let their families know which entrance trail they would be taking into the canyon and what their general game plan was. First rule of a good hiker...always leave adequate information in case of disaster...written plans and be sure that someone other than the person with you knows where you are heading and when they should expect you to return.
On the other side of the park that morning were two young lawyers fresh out into the big bad world. They'd taken their vacations together right at the time that they'd had spring break for the 4 previous years. It was still hard to fathom that they would miss that small break and many others around the different holidays now that they were apprentices at Decker and Lowell, the most sought after law firm in the city.
They too were looking forward to getting away from it all. Sleeping out under the stars no cell phones, laptops, pagers or PDA's to disturb them for the first time in over a year. Being an apprentice meant they were heading in a great direction. And it was a very coveted position to land. But it meant being virtually on call to the firm's partners 24-7 for the last year and a half.
That morning Chad and Rex threw their cell phones in the glove box locked it and Rex's truck and never looked back. As they stepped up to the west parking lot trail the smell of the fresh heather in the cool spring morning's breeze was like a fresh breath of freedom for the young men.
As they traveled along the trail they ran through their plan for the weekend. Unlike the girls, they'd brought no tent...just their sleeping bags-wanting to make the most of sleeping out under the stars. The weather channel had called for it to be clear through Monday evening so they thought they were adequately prepared and would be fine from Friday morning through midday on Monday.
Back on the east side of the canyon the two college girls started to move toward the north. They spent the morning with field journals in hand putting what they'd learned in botany class to work. Good practice for the identification portion of their upcoming mid-term.
They gathered samples of all the vegetation and tried to identify each one, grabbing two samples of each to use for their upcoming lab project tucking them away in their nap sacks.
They found a shady spot under the ledge of the canyon wall to have their lunch by mid afternoon. They had been working their way from the east outer parking lot to the center of the park. Which was where they'd planned to stop for the first day. Make camp and then start north from the center.
They explored around the edges of their campsite for a few hours after lunch, taking care not to get too far off the trail from where they'd pitched their tent for the evening. They'd readied their campfire and cooked a couple cans of soup, topped off with fresh smores just like the ones they used to cook years ago in the Girls Scouts.
Then settled in for the night, knowing the next leg of the trip would be a full day of uphill hiking. Shelby and Paige were hoping to find a lot more vegetation that grew only at the higher elevations of the canyon-they were sure it would help with the ID section on their exam and seal their A+ on the upcoming project for the second semester.
The two young lawyers made their way from the west towards the center of the park as well. Stopping for camp about 5 miles to the north of the girls' campsite. No tents required little setup for the night allowing them to keep hiking for the additional 5 miles out.
They feasted on fresh rabbit they'd caught earlier that afternoon. Cooked over their open campfire for dinner. Reminisced about their old fraternity days and wonder what some of their frat brothers might be up to at the moment. After downing a few beers and a few toasted marshmallows they hit the sack knowing that they'd need to rest up for the hike into the higher elevation of the canyon the next day.