Sunday, June 15, 2008


Summer vacation has arrived and I load up the family into the car and head west as far as we can go before exhaustion sets in. We make a 2 hour stop in Glenwood Springs to soak in the hot spring pool. Sometime well after midnight we made it to Sego Canyon just east of Green River, Utah where we found a campsite, set up tents and went immediately to bed. No concert this evening due to the late hour.

Band of milky white
Universe glows in nights sky
Canyons cool wind blows

Look out nights window
Distant neighborhood revealed
Milky Way's stars shine

Figures drawn on rock
Stare out over centuries
Their eyes meet ours

The next morning, after examining the many Fremont/Barrier Canyon era petroglyphs on the walls of the canyon, we drove into Green River to have breakfast and stock up with some additional supplies. At the super market I noticed that the June 12th edition of the Rolling Stone magazine had Eddie on the cover, one of the all time best guitarists. Their songs Eruption (#6) and Panama (#47) made it onto the top 100 greatest guitar songs list. The Kinks "You Really Got Me", a standard cover tune played by Van Halen at every concert, also made it on the list (#4).
Main street Utah town
On the cover of Rolling Stone
Eddies number one!

We spent the day driving to the Boulder/Escalante area in Utah were we met with pastel artist Scotty Mitchel (dropping a few $$ to pick up another really nice painting). Her artwork captures the essence of canyon country in Utah with often dramatic skies drawn above the colorful rocky landscape ( We also did a short hike to a swimming hole along Calf Creek. I would have jumped off the adjoining 12 foot high cliff into the water but I was fearful of really screwing up my right arm so I backed off and we moved to a smaller pool immediately above Upper Calf Creek Falls.

That evening we set up camp at the Egypt trailhead. This site is at the end of a 26 mile long dirt road and overlooks a vast desert landscape of slickrock and canyons. We set up camp and made dinner, during which time we were grooving on the lengthening shadows and heightened colors of the approaching sunset. After dark, my family and sister retired to their tents while the fun only started for me with the planned evening concert starring...Van Halen!
This nights concert was from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Michigan, May 9, 1986, one of the early concerts now featuring Sammy Hagar. The great sound quality coupled with being in a fantastic location made for a really rocking time. Since the others in our group were trying to get to sleep in the nearby tents, I was unable to really crank it up to the volume their concerts deserve, but it was a fun time anyway. Went to bed sometime around midnight, falling into a disturbed sleep when my right shoulder became inflamed over night.

Moment so fleeting
Sandstone awash in crimson
Grows cold when sun sets

Canyons of red rock
Silent in nights darkness
While Van Halen rocks

Dark line drawn above
Steady march across nights sky
Clouds eclipse the moon

Music legend plays
A guitar technique so fine
Eddie steals the show

Bright moon descends
Toward midnights black horizon
Ends another day

The next day we hiked several miles across the slickrock to enter Harris Canyon, thereby marking the beginning of our canyoneering adventure. Three nights and four days of trekking along the canyon floor, using the creek and river as our primary path of travel. We camped beneath towering cliffs on a sandy beach in a meander bend, on an open point bar and in a cottonwood grove. The days were spent wading through the water as we moved down the canyon, looking for Indian relics/cliff dwellings/petroglyphs (found a nice arrowhead on the hike in) and finding/exploring the Golden Cathedral, an immense overhanging pouroff in Neon Canyon. We also swatted many biting flies and were scratched by the thick vegetation we had to occasionally push through to make out way downriver. Warm to hot days followed by chilly nights (we forgot to bring one of the sleeping bags!). Everyone had a fantastic time. Our packs were lightened a bit at the very end of the trip when a pair of squirrels raided one of our packs and hauled off some of the non essential food we had brought along. They feasted well that night!
Footsteps in red sand
Want to leave impressions that last
Gone with the next rain

Torturous terrain
Lost in dawns blue shadowed light
Still feel nights cool breeze

Hardened landscape
Not immune to times passage
Rock slowly crumbles

Narrow swath of sky
Framed by tall black walls of rock
Bright stars shine above

Their shadows drift by
Bits of foam on creeks surface
Star shaped points of light

Creek's slow moving pool
Long legged bugs skate its surface
Their small sunlit world

Evenings twilight glow
First quarter moon hangs above
A pair of bats feeding

Sandstone canyon walls
The ancient landscape entombed
River makes it new

Buried for eons
Freed from the eroding cliff face
Sand beneath bare feet

Late night excursion
Wade across the warm river
Skin dries in the breeze

Nights moon casts its light
Black trees reach for starry sky
Shadowed canyon walls
Overhanging cliff
Streaked with ribbons of black
Canyon walls echo

Overlook the valley
Figures drawn on sandstone walls
Their stories forgotten

Waters reflection
Shimmer on the canyon wall
Moving ripples of light

Skylight through the rock
Bored by countless desert storms
Warm red light shines through

Wind rustles the leaves
Cottonwoods whisper through the night
Creeks lone frog calling

Stars circle the sky
Eclipsed by the canyon wall
Warm dry wind blowing

Long legged spiders
Climb sandstone walls in darkness
Search for each other
Rippled stream bottom
Change with the passage of time
Shift with each footstep

Flows for centuries
Follow the river for days
Here, and then we're gone


Anonymous said...

Walter: The trips that you take your family on each summer are the trips of my dreams. One thing that I appreciate more than your haikus is your zest for life. Go for it my friend and I hope that your shoulder heals soon. Rick

themard67 said...

I really enjoyed your blog. With all the DaveTards out there nowadays, its so refreshing to stumble on a fellow Van Hagar fan. Sammy VH is so overlooked these days,I really liked all your pictures and your honest opinions and stories. Really good work

volcano man said...

Thanks for the compliment. I really like Diamond Dave, but Van Halen produced a large number of really good songs with Sammy. The guy is genuine.