On this weekend’s adventure, the boys went back up to Utah in Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. It’s a huge natural area. We found a new route up there so it only took us three hours to get up there on Friday night. We set up a base camp in front of the cave we explored last time we were up there. Friday night’s delectable homemade meals were burgers for the boys. Although there was some controversy over whether they were cooked upright, all the guys went to sleep on a full stomach. We ran an AA meeting under the stars in subfreezing temperatures and we all got something out of everyone’s shares that helped us in our own recovery.

Bright and early the next morning, we were greeted by the delightful smell of coffee, bacon, and chocolate chip pancakes to draw us out of our tents into the brisk morning air. After everyone was satisfied, we packed our water, sandwiches, a plethora of nutritious bars, and went ‘exploring into the Cottonwood Narrows. With high spirits, we all hiked deep into the slot canyon. Aside from the cold temperatures and cool winds, we found ourselves climbing the walls of the canyon to new heights of recovery. When we made it to the other side of the canyon, we stopped for a midday lunch and journal session. The topic this weekend was “What are the weaknesses in your recovery and how are you going to work on them to prevent a future relapse.” As we navigate our way back to the start of the canyon it started to warm up a bit and a mini snowball fight broke out. (Just a little something to keep the spirits high towards the end of the hike.) When we got back to camp, some of the more adventurous guys took it upon themselves to hike the hill next to us and sled down it with sleeping pads, which made good sleds. After the fun and games seemed to die down we then had ourselves a little fiesta with “Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!” for dinner. After we were all stuffed, we ran a meeting where one of the veteran guys shared his story. It all occurred to us that we could all relate to each other more than what we had previously thought. We all shared how we related to him and the different mindsets that we all seemed to share in one way or another. Then soon after, we all bundled up for another cold night under the stars in Utah.

The next morning seemed to be colder than the last as we all awoke to fried eggs, bacon, more pancakes, and as always strong coffee to get us going early in the morning. Then we all piled into one van and headed down the bumpy road to the Buckskin Gulch. We stood at the edge of another slot canyon ready to tackle the obstacles ahead of us. As we trekked down the hill to what seemed to be getting more narrow as we went, many jokes and deep conversations were being held in the depths of the red rocks that surrounded us. After the first slot opened up into a deep wide canyon filled with hills, grass, and cave paintings, we had a rare sighting of the “Utah Bears” (cows). They were running up one of the next slot canyons we were hiking into and seemed to be unfazed by the people hiking near them as they just hung out and went about their days eating grass and doing other things the Utah Bear has been known to do (inside joke). As we continued our hike, we saw traces of those bears deeper in the next canyon and wondered how they made it through those narrows. As the canyon opened back up, we found a nice spot to chill, eat lunch, and then discuss what we had journaled about the day before. There was a lot of good feedback and observations getting thrown around and it seemed that some of the guys had been philosophers in their past lives. We then turned back and retraced our steps through the canyon and back to the van. On our way back to camp in the deep wilderness we stopped in Kanab UT for some grub for the boys. We all felt bad for the people working there because of the large order we put in, but surprisingly our food came out hot, and not a single thing messed up. We then receded back into the cold night and because of our quick-minded, fast reacting, helluva good driver, we nearly missed a deer on the highway on our way back to camp. Although a few of the guys joked how nice the rack would look above our wood furnace back at hunter’s house, we were all thankful the deer made it across the highway safely. As we bundled up for one last night, we all dreaded the early morning wake up we knew was upon us.

We awoke to the funny homemade Garageband song one our talented guides had made a few nights before, which made the dark cold wake up call a little better. About halfway through our drive back we stopped at Glen Canyon for a community meeting where we discussed how we thought our weekend went. All in all, a phenomenal trip, minus the cold weather…….some said it builds character…

Love, The BOYS

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