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Wide Awake
by Dave Flitcroft

September 13, 2000 at 3:00 a.m. on a sandbar near the entrance
to Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River, Canyonlands
National Park, Utah.

Wide Awake.
It is cold, warm in the sleeping bag but if I get up to pee I will freeze and I need to pee.
But the glory of it all, bright moon shining over the canyon wall reflecting across the river
so bright you could almost read by it, soon to be hidden by another red rock canyon
wall and then all the stars come out of hiding.

The sand makes a hard pillow, my day pack is my "pillow".
With 18 people mostly strangers at the beginning but now all
companions and my daughter Anna. She is good company, but soon
she will be back in grad school-our last chance to spend
a large block of time together.

Clothes covered with sand, skin covered with dirt and sand.
Tired, bone tired, paddling for four days, 56 miles but a happy tired.
No cars, no telephones... just the roar from Cataract Canyon
like the ocean at the beach and the happy chirping of hungry bats.
The john smells awful, someone uses it and everyone gags.
Tommorrow we will hike 800 feet of canyon wall to unequaled beauty and adventure.

Missing Tonya and the puppies; knowing that my work is getting done
that I will argue a motion for summary judgement on Tuesday
and someone else is writing the brief.
Five days, four nights, almost desolation and paradise.
I am convinced that Heaven and Hell are the same place,
only the sinners and the saints have a different perspective.