Ranger Mike Inspires Dave to Endure the Heat

I am not a fan of the heat-- I'm a hairy mesomorph and when I get hot I feel like my brain is going to melt-- and I'm always impressed by people who don't seem bothered by it; the reported high in Moab yesterday was 105 degrees, and we saw people running and biking along without worry . . . and so I was determined not to complain on our ranger led hike into the Fiery Furnace . . . which my hiking guidebook assured me was not named that because of the heat, but instead because of the lovely red colors on the rocks in the shady gullies and canyons . . . the hike started at 5 PM, and promised three hours of strenuous hiking, climbing, jumping, obstacles, gullies, crevices, and natural information, and despite the late afternoon start, it was still insanely hot-- somewhere between 102 and 105, and while it was a dry heat, it was still a very hot heat-- and a dozen plus chipper hikers, mainly women and teenagers, met in the parking lot-- everyone discussing how much water they had and how excited they were to descend into the Fiery Furnace (you have to purchase a permit and/or go in with a ranger as there are no set trails) but I was skeptical and so I asked Ranger Mike if there was much shade and he said there was shade later in the hike but the first half was "brutal," and then he told us that two people DIED of heat related illnesses in the park in the last week and they were dealing with another case of heatstroke on Delicate Arch as he spoke . . . and he judged it was still 102 degrees and they didn't cancel the hike unless it hit 110 . . . in fact, Ranger Mike's prologue to the hike seemed designed to dissuade anyone who wasn't serious into quitting then and there-- and eight folks didn't show up at all . . . but this speech made my children very happy, they felt they were headed on a real adventure . . . and it was, but he was exaggerating about the lack of shade, we got into it fairly quickly and the temperature actually became quite reasonable-- I didn't really complain at all-- and then the rest of the hike was spectacular-- check out my wife's pictures-- we walked through arches, climbed through arches, were surprised by Surprise Arch in a pocket canyon, duck walked and climbed through thin cracks, and saw breathtaking views of the surrounding canyons and valleys and mesas around every turn . . . and in the shady crevice, under the span of Surprise Arch, Ranger Mike gave a surprisingly moving speech about what the National Parks meant to him, especially Arches, in which he alluded to overcoming a serious illness-- leukemia or cancer?-- and that his inspiration to fight the disease and get better was his love of the outdoors and the solitude and beauty of our park system, especially Arches . . . and his speech has in turn inspired me: I will never complain about the heat again . . . unless it's over 110 degrees, because even Ranger Mike doesn't hike when it's over 110 degrees.


zman said...

I assume you had a case of Budweiser in your backpack.

Dave said...

3.2 strength

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