Better off Alive

It’s been another week of ups-and-downs. I took Friday off work to do some more hiking at the Wedge. I was trying to find some routes from the Wedge Overlook down to the San Rafael River so that I could find some geocaches that are just across the river. The caches were placed by people who rafted/canoed down the river when it was in flood stage, which is the only time the river is navigable, and which only occurs for a very short period each year in late spring. Any other time of year and you’ve got to do either a very long day hike or an overnighter to hike along the river through the Little Grand Canyon. My attempt at a shortcut didn’t pan out very well, though I didn’t expect to have any success. I first tried getting down to the river via a canyon about a mile west of the main road where it connects to the Wedge Overlook. I hiked more than a mile down the canyon before coming up against a band of cliffs that was impassable, though I was less than a quarter of a mile from my destination at the mouth of Virgin Spring Canyon. It was worth it just for the scenery and solitude. Just as I got back to where the truck was parked, Traci called to let me know that Michael came home early from school with flu symptoms. Great. My second attempt was going to be from the end of the road at the far east end of the Wedge Overlook, but just from looking down from the top of the overlook I could tell that the route I’d mapped out in Google Earth would be impassable, again due to cliffs. I ate lunch there and spent about half an hour just looking down into the river gorge with binoculars, then headed home.
My plans for Saturday included an ATV ride somewhere, but by Friday evening I still hadn’t decided where, nor had I bothered loading up my ATV or any other gear because I wasn’t sure I felt up to it. When I woke up on Saturday morning I decided that I just couldn’t spend the rest of the weekend at home, so I got my stuff ready and loaded and started out a bit late. I settled on the Woodside Anticline area because I could just wander around and explore without committing myself to a long ride. Just before I left, Traci had made an appointment for Michael to see the doctor, so I didn’t want to be riding too far from where I parked the truck just in case she needed me to get home quickly. I had no solid plans for my ride–I just set out from the staging area and started checking out side roads leading off the main road. The first road was pretty easy and led to an old drill hole, but after that it started climbing and ran across a lot of bare rock, and some sections were a bit difficult. The trail topped out along a ridge that had some nice views, then descended some steep old bulldozed switchbacks. Not far before the trail met back up with the main road again, I ran into a fairly new oil/gas well that had been drilled by Bill Barrett Corp., and the dirt that they’d pushed for the drill pad completely covered the trail I was on and made it impassible. I was kind of pissed, but after doing some hiking around I found a cross-country route that got me around the drill pad and back onto the trail. I followed several more trails and old mining tracks after that, and saw some interesting sights–a rock quarry in the Morrison Formation, an interesting rock formation, and an old uranium prospect. Here are all of the photos, and here’s a Google Earth .KML file showing my tracklog and some waypoints.
During my ride, Traci called me after the doctor visit. They said that Michael was almost certainly suffering from the flu, but they didn’t test to see which strain. They did, however, prescribe flu medicine for the entire family and said to keep the kids home from school. Michael is the only one suffering from symptoms, but acetaminophen couldn’t keep his fever down. We were pretty worried about him Friday night/Saturday morning, but today he’s doing much better. Tomorrow, Traci has an appointment at a surgeon’s office to have her gallbladder checked out. We’re putting a lot of plans on hold until we find out whether or not she needs surgery, and I’m sure this coming week will be a lot like the last couple of weeks. I’m growing weary of all the ER/doctor visits we’ve had lately, and I’m hoping things look up soon.

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