Friday, June 12, 2009
Thing 3 - Flickr
Thing 3 allows me to enjoy one of my favorite things - pictures! I could view beautiful photos all day - and Flickr is easy to search. I saw so many pics of inspiring places, The Vatican and Alexandria and Vancouver libraries, to name a few. I especially enjoyed the awe-inspiring photos of Canyonlands National Park in Utah at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pancier/3349023710/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmills31/2391054441/. They reminded me of a backpacking trip one Spring many years ago. A college friend and I drove straight through from California to Utah. Longing to feel the heat of the desert after months of cold and rain in the Bay area, we were thoughtless about the weather in Canyonlands. At sundown our first night out, ominous clouds formed overhead. We felt lucky to find a cave and set up camp inside, happy to be dry. In the middle of the night we awoke in a puddle of cold water and realized that our cave leaked. The next morning, our sleeping bags dried quickly in the sun We set out after breakfast, warm and dry and in high spirits, blue skies overhead. We watched the clouds begin to form again around noon. Soon it began to snow and continued until dark. We cooked our lunch and dinner and then slept underneath an outcropping of rocks, keeping our little fire burning. In the morning we were greeted by two feet of exquisitely pristine snow. We marvelled at its beauty. Then we began to discuss our situation. We knew we were in trouble and had to get out. The cairns marking the trail were 18 inches tall and we could no longer see them. We were lost in Canyonlands with only a little food left, and we were soaked and cold. My friend, who had grown up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, mentioned hikers who got lost in the mountains and died of hypothermia. That afternoon we consumed the last of our food and I realized that our situation was life-threatening. I looked around at the vast whiteness of the surrounding snow-covered mountains and my life flashed before my eyes. I realized in that life-changing instant that love is all that matters, not grades or accomplishements or glory. Needless to say, we survived, saved by my friend's mountaineering skills and the grace of God. I will always remember my elation upon finding a group of campers and how their eyes grew wide when they discovered that we had survived two nights in the storm that had enveloped Canyonlands. We told them our tale and gratefully warmed ourselves with peach schnapps. Photos are powerful.