Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saving a German

Last weekend we were in Canyonlands.  We had a permit to camp at one of the campsites along the White Rim trail.  The White Rim is a 100 mile long 4x4 road isloated from civilization that is popular with mountain bikers.  Once in you are on your own.

We camped at Murphy Hogback.  That is 50 miles in, just halfway.  At 8:00 pm, just as we are about to retire, we hear a voice.  "Can you help me?".

Usually this area has some traffic at this time of year.  The weather is typically spectacular, not to hot, not too cold and usually sunny.  This weekend it was forcast for a rainy, dreary onslaught of several storms.  In addition the US government threatened to close the Park on Friday night - budget cuts.

Friday's weather turned out a lot better than we expected.  The storms went north and we didn't get much rain, just a sprinkle or so.  On our way in on the White Rim we commented on how few people we saw.  At our camp area there were 3 other sites, all empty.  There was no one else around for at least 20 or 30 miles, most likely 50 or so.

The voice belonged to a German tourist who rented a mountain bike in Moab and wanted to bike the White Rim.  He was alone, out of water and very lightly clothed.  The temperature was predicted to be 27 degrees F that night.  He wanted to know the fastest way to get out of the White Rim.  We told him it was the way he came in, 50 miles of rough road. 

You know that look you see in people's eyes when they realize they are in much deeper than they expected?  He had that exact look.  We didn't have spare sleeping provisions but we did have some food, water and a blanket we shared with him.  He slept in the outhouse - his name was Klaus so we called it the Klaus house.  It wasn't very pleasent but it kept him warm.  In the morning we fed him a hot breakfast and sent him back on his way.  He was very greatful to find us.

The trouble with the vast country that is Canyonlands National Park is that first time visitors can't appreciate it's enormity.  It is the wild.  It will swallow you up if you aren't prepared.  I guess that is part of the reason I like going there. 

No comments: