Saturday, April 29, 2006

Desert Hiking

We started out on an 8-mile hike at about 9:30 this morning when it was a cool 72 degrees. It was probably at least 85 degrees an hour later and we quickly discovered why big black dogs don't do very well in the desert. Bailey, despite the fact that he was drinking gallons of water every few minutes, wilted like an ice cube in the oven and was pretty much the determining factor in turning us around. We also ran into a bit of a snag returning to the parking lot via another route when we discovered that the trail narrowed into a canyon that required rock climbing (and the use of metal hooks that were used to pull oneself up the canyon wall). We were puzzled since the park ranger had assured us that the way was passable for dogs, especially large ones. While Bailey may be a great dog and a fairly decent hiker, he's certainly no rock climber. We ended up hauling him up about 20 feet of rock face with Chris lifting/pushing from the back and me hauling on his scruff from the front. It wasn't graceful but we did get a standing ovation (although no help) from a family of 15 that was watching from the top. We didn't get a picture of the "gauntlet" so I borrowed a picture from the website of the gentleman pictured, below, although it doesn't even begin to do justice to the slope (vertical) or the height. The canyon was very beautiful and aptly named "Hole in the Wall". While I'm no geologist, it was evident that they surrounding topography was formed many millions of years ago when volcanic ash settle over the landscape and was then uplifted.