Anna Taft describes an afternoon’s ordeal, thirsty, lost, and alone in canyon country:
I followed a train of black-ringed dry potholes, the mud within cracked and split, descending the scale of the canyon wren’s song down sloping slickrock. Lying dormant in their dust were tiny creatures that would reemerge when raindrops rehydrated their world, but I knew that I did not have the adaptations of those ostracods or fairy shrimp. Sharp spears of yucca pointing out towards the sky began to offend my eyes…I climbed out of it and worked my way south onto a small rise. From there, I could barely glimpse a side canyon toward which I was supposed to be heading, indicating that I had made less progress than I had thought. By now, lacking confidence in my navigation and unsure of my location, I tried vainly to triangulate my position using the distant cliffs of Redwall Mesa and The Needle. This exercise confirmed that I was somewhere within the general area I was in. Great. Nervousness ate away at my stomach as the sun sank toward the horizon.
from “Pothole Grace,” in the forthcoming issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, the journal for people who love wild places and good words. https://deepwildjournal.com/subscribe/