Got Ready...#DiscoverYourBold Weekend!
By Hoanglan (Tena) Nguyen
Few months back, I had booked a weekend out in Escalante, Utah for Excursions of Escalante Canyoneering Rendezvous. Few days before trip, flooded with excuses to not want to go; exhaustion from week, opportunity to hang with friends, pro/cons to cost/fun ratio and truthfully, an introvert like myself, having to turn on to a group of strangers, is always an endeavor.
It was Tuesday. Wander Lust chose adventure. Booked my car and cabin, nonrefundable, this was Go.
I flew out Thursday, at 3:40pm and landed in Las Vegas at 4:30pm. Picked up rental car at Economy rental out in the rural area of LV’s nowhere. My rental car pulled up, slightly ghetto; seat covered in stains and lowered, wiggly tires. I wondered if this was the “down” of the start of my weekend. At least, they had USB audio capacity or I would have thrown in the towel right about now. I plugged in my Samsung, blast my liquid D&B and headed east for 4.5 hours.
I arrived in Escalante at midnight. I had a cabin that fits 5, 2 kings and a full which seems to be lot of bang (for only me). The cabin managers at Canyons of Escalante RV Park left door unlocked and keys on the bed. I was able to avoid any late night office banging and slid into my room and bed, all within an hour. Wondering before I fell asleep if I was going to sleep in on Friday morning.
Friday Morning, (Mountain Time: 1hr ahead and 6 hours of sleep), pulled myself out of bed, packed my canyon bag and went to the meeting spot at Excursions of Escalante’s office.
There were a few people already huddled in the office, sipping warm liquids. I signed up. Humored when the roster admin couldn’t find my name until she stumbled upon it, spelled “Hangman”. What does this mean for my weekend?
The organizer for the event, Rick Green, had us circle around at 8am where he discussed safety protocols, introduced the canyon leaders for weekend and presented canyon options. First canyon: #BeauBeau
On the drive back, I was able to convince my new canyon friend, #JoHappy, whom I had met in today’s canyon run, to trust that I wasn’t a crazy person and had plenty of room in my cabin for extra. Sharing is caring.
We got back from the canyon around 5:30pm, had a quick change of clothes and headed to the nights catered food meet.
Saturday, repeat of Friday morning. This time, most knew who they were planning on canyoning with, in my case, I had such a great time with my Friday group, I went searching for another day of adventure which coined group name: #YanaGappers led by Catnip aka A: Team. Today adventure was #Elbeau.
We got back, closer to dinner time, #JoHappy and I headed to camp to cleaned up while rest of group went straight to the meal train. When we arrived, not sure where the group was or table seating, sounds of cheerleading voices, shouting in the background and motioning where to sit. It was the A: team.
Rick & Aime had organized a catered meal, which was an excellent delight after a long day’s workout. They had raffles, which I won a coffee mug. Group decided to head back to the cabin and opt for creating a campsite fire surrounded by circle of trust. Night sky was clear, covered by bright sparkling stars with moon smiling down on us. The magic color lights dancing out from the fire warmed our bodies. Catnip shared his last secret stash of Moonshine, which he had been rationed for those special evenings.
The manager appeared from the darkness, gently explaining the party had to be shut down due to noise.
Sunday morning, I debated running a canyon with my pressing time or head back early to roam freely, to capture photos opts before my 10pm flight back to SD. Catnip, understanding my pressing time and being an amazing leader of adventure, signed me up for a Sunday canyon with #YanaGappers and (great delight) #RickGreen was able to join in on days' adventure #microdeath
We finished at 1pm, making it way before my desired departure time of 3:30. Not ready to leave the great energy that had flourish from weekend, I decided to have pizza at Escalante Outfitters with some of the gappers.
Filled up the gas-tank ($12 whole weekend) and off to Sin City by 4:30pm. Made it back to car rental at 8pm. Luckily, from mountain to Pacific, I had enough time to shuttle back to airport, check in and gorge on Chinese food.
While sitting at the airport, body sore from 3 days of canyoning and wearing a huge grin plastered on my face from sharing a weekend with some solid authentic canyon nomads. I had an amazing time and knew this story will not end. And, glad my excuses did not win. By taking a chance and trusting adventure, I won. Thank you Escalante, it was wonderful.
Photo credit: Johappy
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