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Trip Report: Ramfest '05 (Day 1)

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Welcome back, come in, come in. Good to see you again. Please have a seat and take a load off. Yes Ö the commercial crackhouse that is the World Wide Web does tire one so. Honey! Ö The guests are here. The coffee is brewing and should be ready momentarily Ö oh, but Ö please donít do that to the cat, Ö she doesnít like it.

We had a wonderful weeklong excursion to the Beehive State - land of stone, sand, sun, dry canyons and watery beer. The goal of the trip was to take a break from computers, car alarms, erectile dysfunction ads and bathing to explore a few of the well known and lesser known slot canyons in the area.
Did you know "Utah" was named after the Utes (an American Indian tribe) and means people of the mountains? Not sure why they went with the name Utah and not Uteberg or Utesylvania, but there you go. According to the Utah State Board of Staggeringly Boring Statistics (the USBSBS), the state is 84,900 square miles and is the 11th largest in the US (by size) and the 34th largest (by population).


A man who needs no introduction. What? Youíve been living in a cave / have just awakened from a decade-long coma / have recently escaped the smoking crust of the future planet Earth by traveling back in time? Well, if thatís the case, let me introduce you to Ram (a nickname of course), the noted canyoneer, outdoors enthusiast, guru and alpine climber. Ram has a passion (though clinically itís more of a personality disorder) for NARROW places.
Speaking of which Ö we drove half the night to arrive at camp and catch a few hours of sleep in time to visit this narrow place the first day of the trip which goes by the name of Shenanigans. The wet suit is worn as much for itís buffering properties as for warmth. Sandstone is quite rough on the skin, having many of the same abrasive properties as Dr. Phil's personality.
Soft lighting makes for a nice picture.
Some say the ghost of Ramfestís past watches over and provides guidance to all canyoneers with pure hearts and bitchiní stemming moves. Others say the ghost of Ramfestís future brings doom and affliction to those who would deface these canyons by placing artificial anchors.
Actually, I thought this was one of the most compelling photos of the trip. I wonít claim the colors represent what I saw with my eyes at the time (cameras, ccdís and film simply capture light differently than the retina), but the photo was not digitally altered in any significant way.
Let me introduce you to Denise, another of the canyoneers joining us for the trip. I appreciate having folks along that will patiently pose for my photos. Posing is a necessity in low light conditions; otherwise everyone comes out as a blurry ball. My favorite canyoneering partners are all posers.

The defining characteristic of the canyon is that it is VERY narrow. Chest constrictingly narrow. Many a brave hiker has lost their cool when presented with narrows so tight it made it impossible to even turn their heads, let alone breathe comfortably. Others have simply retreated. I donít blame them, itís very disconcerting. Squeezing, scraping and pushing are required by most to fit through these tight spots. I am pleased to report that I made it through Ö though I peeíd my pants a little.

The canyon ended in a scenic rappel into a pretty alcove.
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