Mayventure Day 1: Back to the Black Hole

Finally. I’m back. This time with Kyle Hurd. We’re back. Feels amazing. Invigorating. Relaxing. True.

There’s a lot I could say about today, a ton. There’s the beta – what’s the Black Hole like? There’s the personal part, thoughts and feelings.  Then there’s the interpersonal part, all the time I’ve spent with Kyle

But I’m falling asleep, it’s midnight now and kyle and I have been up watching for meteors|

Woke up looking down on the Fry Canyon Ruins for the first time since 2014 with Beth. Seems it’s a place I come to once each year when I can. Took a very leisurely start to the day, playing harmonica and drinking tea. Packed up and drove 10 miles down to the trailhead.

The Black Hole is a riot IF YOU HAVE A GOOD WETSUIT. In a passable wetsuit it is doable but not so much enjoyable. Kyle was markedly cold before the swims were over in his 2/3 surfing wetsuit, and I was comfortable but not interested in any more swimming without first warming up in my tri suit. Luckily all of the swimming cones back to back, so it’s easytoo justkeep going. After the first three you want more and your sure you won’t get enough. By the fourth (the best, go down earlier not later, “the bunny grotto” as Kyle called it, long story) you’re loving it and you’ll be so glad you have your wetsuit and can hang out. How quickly awe dissipates. By the fifth swim you’re dealing with some heavy conditions – slithering through a log jam and moving through 30′ of log soup – and you’re starting to realize how cold you are and that you don’t know how long the obstacles go on for but it could be a long time. You start to think back to that sign at the beginning of the canyon that says that experienced canyoneers say that safe descent is impossible and you really hope that it’s wrong and you push forward and when you get out of that pool without getting crushed by the logs above you or ensnared by the logs below the water you’re thanking you’re lucky stars. And then you have another long narrow swim. And another, and you’re in and our odd the water a few more times not knowing how deep or will get and you’re doing it just to get through it and take a break and then gleefully not walk or wade or swim or have to even think about muddy water where you can’t see the bottom anymore. And eventually you get there. But the point is you WILL get enough water in the Black Hole.

Timing is key, we walked a little faster than average and were in nice sun by the very last swim, having left the trailhead at about 11am. Then, we had a hot but not sweltering May jaunt back up the blacktop to the car at 4pm, a 5 hour roundtrip. Excellent. Dry bagged music – that is a lightweight speaker and mp3 player in a MAC sack – was a blessing and really helped to set the mood when we were downing waterfalls and swimming through caves, and then to keep us positive when the soup got thick.

We got in the car and finally located Soldiers Crossing, passing it twice in the process, then creeped up the Cheesebox Road at 10 miles an hour to a campsite near the head of Cheesebox Canyon, some 11 miles in. We grilled filet mignon that I picked up and had seasoned in Glenwood Springs. The stars were good, but they were much better and I was able to observe a couple of fireballs in the predawn hour, having set an alarm. It was a prelude: the Eta-Aquarid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night.

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