Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Perhaps the Perfect Weekend, Except for the Near Death Experiance

I had a fantastic weekend, and a terrifying weekend at the same time.  I’ll tell you about the fantastic part first.  This post is long, so maybe you will want to read only the happy part at the beginning, and skip the scary stressful part.

This weekend we went to Goblin Valley to run the Goblin Valley Ultra Marathon.  Brent and I were both running the 10K.  We took his kids Drew and Christy, and my son Travis down with us for a camping trip too.  It was such a fun family vacation!  (Except for the terrifying part that I will tell you about later.)  We went with Sondra and Wally and their family.  Our kids had such a fun time, they said we should make this a yearly family tradition. 

A few weeks ago I told Sondra I was not even ready for this race.  I was signed up for the 10K.  There was no 5K.  I felt like I was ready for a 5K, but I have not been running enough lately to be prepared for a 10K.   Sondra told me not to worry too much about it.  She said to just do the best I can.  And to not worry because there is no way I would be the last one to finish.  Well she was wrong.  I was the last runner in the 10K to cross the finish line!  You’d think I’d feel real bad about that.  But I really don’t.  I had a blast running this race!  And I won an award!  I won the DLF plaque.  DLF is Dead Last Finisher.  The plaque reads:  “Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start.”  I’m quite proud of my plaque.  

Brent and I were late getting to the finish line by about 4 or 5 minutes.  The other racers had already left.  So I did have that going against me, but that is not the reason I was dead last.  I simply was not ready for this race.  It was hard.  I was only ready for half of it.  I’m not sure the altitude difference from my home, and at Goblin Valley, but it felt higher.  Plus this was mostly a trail run, and the trails were sandy, a bit hilly, and in some areas, muddy sand.  But the scenery was beautiful!  I took a few pictures with my cell phone on the run.  I don’t think that helped my time either.  And it was fun to run through the goblin formations.  I also found one benefit I really liked about being the last runner...  Nobody was running next to me.  I could sing with my MP3 player out loud as I ran.  And nobody cared if I sounded funny singing Lady Gaga as I ran.  I had so much fun; it was a good reminder of why I love to run so much.

By the way, Brent did wonderfully!  Like I said, we started late.  I am not sure of the results yet.  But he passed many people and didn’t do too badly at all!  He is strong and fast, and looks good running too.
Sondra ran the 25K!  She is so tough!  She also finished something like 9th overall!  Wow.  She is my running hero.  Next year Brent and I want to run this race again.  And our kids may run it with us.  My goal is to be ready to do the 25K by then.  And next year I plan on NOT winning the DLF plaque.  
Now to tell you about the scary part.

After the race, we wanted to take our family on a hike.  We decided to do the Bell Canyon-Little Wild Horse Canyon loop.  They are slot canyons.  I had checked the weather to see about rain, because rain can be so dangerous in that area.  The report I had read the day before said there would be a 30% chance of rain in the morning.  And clear in the afternoon.  We hadn’t seen any rain all day long.  By about 2:00 when we were going on the hike, the sky was blue with some fluffy white clouds.  It was beautiful  hiking weather!  Or so I thought.    

The first half of the hike through Bell Canyon was so fun!  Probably one of the most fun times I have ever had.  We climbed on rocks and just had a blast.  I have pictures that show blue sky, with the white fluffy clouds.  You’ll have to check out the pictures we took of the first half of the trip as soon as I post them on Facebook.  

Obviously we didn’t take pictures during the last half.  We were trying to outrun a possible flash flood.  When we started the last half of the hike through Little Wild Horse, it was starting to get gray behind us.  There were some dark clouds behind us, going the other way.  After a prayer, we decided to go on through.  When we were in the canyon, we started to feel a few rain drops, and I heard thunder every now and then.  After a while, it started to shower.  Thankfully it was not a downpour, or we might not be here today.  But a shower in a slot canyon can be deadly too. 

We were already a good ways into the canyon.  I could no longer enjoy our hike.  We had to encourage our kids to go faster.  Some laughed at us, and thought we were being silly.  Then I started to see little drizzles of water streaming down the sides of the cliffs, making little foamy puddles on the canyon floor.  I was getting very afraid by then.  So I had the kids start to run.  We needed to get out of the canyon as fast as we could.  As we went on, water started coming down the sides of the cliffs in little water falls.  By now we were all terrified.  The water at the bottom of the canyon was getting deeper.  That was not the scariest part.  I was so terrified a big wall of water was just behind us. I was listening for a rumbling sound of a flash, and wondering with every step, how I could save the kids with us in a moment’s notice.  We were looking for high ground, and there was none we could reach.  The cliff walls were so high.  We just had to try to hurry through as fast as we could.  We had children who could not run that well in the water.  I was so scared I was going to see my son die.  And my sweet step children too, and my sweet husband, and Sondra and her whole family, who I love so much.  So many people that I love were in terrible danger.  There was another young man with us.  Shane, who is friends with Sondra and Wally.  He stayed towards the back of everyone, although I know he could have outrun any of us out.  He watched for the flash for us.  I was afraid of seeing a good young man die, trying to help out me and my family.    

Part of the reason I was so afraid was because of a dream I had had about a year ago.  It was one of those vivid scary dreams that you remember forever.  In my dream I was hiking with Sondra and her family, and my son Travis, and some children I didn’t know.  The dream had a flash flood, and many of the people I loved were washed away.  I couldn’t find them.  It was heartbreaking.  I had that dream, or variations of it all that night.  So hiking this watery slot canyon, this dream felt to me like a premonition.  I was so sick and terrified that I was going to see all these people that I love being washed away in a violent 30 foot wall of water.  I can tell you, I have never pleaded so hard with my Father in Heaven before.  I do know He helped us, and got us through that long narrow canyon safely. 

Thinking back, this was so beautiful.  It is a breathtaking canyon.  And the water should add to the beauty, if seen from a safe place.  But I couldn’t enjoy the beauty at all.  It was too terrifying thinking of the very real possibility of a huge wall of water coming after us!  A few people have mentioned to me that it was cool to see some of the sights we saw in that canyon.  I agree it was beautiful, and something most people don’t get to see firsthand.  But when I picture them, I get sick to my stomach.  This was the most scared I have ever been in my life.  The last few nights I have not been able to get these pictures of the red cliffs on both sides of us, with the water running down the sides.  And my family and loved ones there, running as best as they could in puddles up to their knees, and sometimes higher, Running to get out of the long- long- never ending canyon.  It was a nightmare.    

Obviously we all made it out.  I know it was very hard on everyone, especially some of the kids.  They were cold and terrified of drowning, and not used to running for so long, especially through water and climbing over rocks.  After a big long section of the slot canyon, finally came to an opening.  I don’t really know how long it took.  But I think it an hour is a pretty good guess, maybe even longer.  We were finally able to climb to higher ground.  We prayed and thanked our Father in Heaven for keeping us safe.  I broke down, and cried harder than I ever cry.  And we waited.  We were cold.  The rain was actually stopped by then.  But we waited for the running water coming down the canyon walls to slow down.  We had a ways to go still through more slot canyon to get to camp.  It was shorter.  But we still did not feel safe.  Finally we made it to the trail head and got out of the riverbed as soon as we could.  There was a girl hiker that was going to go up that canyon as we were coming out.  We told her about our experience.  Thankfully she decided not to go much further into the slot canyon.  We must have been a site.  We were completely soaked.
This link tells about the area.  Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Be sure to click the spot at the bottom of the page that tells about a firsthand experience of a flash flood in that canyon.  It is terrifying.  And shows just how dangerous and powerful a flash flood in that very canyon can be.  The next morning, as we were leaving, the sky was overcast and very grey.  And the parking lot was full of hiker’s cars.  The canyon must have been full of hikers.  I was afraid for them.  The sky looked even worse than it had for us the day before.

This is not one of my proudest moments.  I am almost embarrassed to have people read this.  But maybe it is a good lesson to share.  I have learned a hard lesson a very hard way.  And I feel so bad I jeopardized some very important people in my life.  I do want to hike this canyon again.  But I will make sure there is NO chance of rain at all for the whole week.  It is well after midnight now as I type this.  I am hoping that by writing some of this down, I can get some of it out of my head.  So I can finally sleep without being so scared and upset, and seeing my family in danger every time I close my eyes. 


Tracy Beckett said...

Oh my word, Katrina--what a scary experience. I can't imagine the fear and worry, especially after your dream. I'm so glad you were protected and made it out okay--Heavenly Father is so good to us, isn't He? And I'm so proud of you for the 10K! You are amazing and wonderful. Love you, dear!

Tiffany said...

I love you Aunt Katrina. It made me feel extra grateful for my Heavenly Father.

erika said...

Sounds like a crazy a adventure.

Kris said...

Hi Kat. Wow what an adventure and scary experience. I'm so glad you were all safe. Heavenly Father does love us and watch over us.

congratulations on the 10k. You and Sondra are so amazing. xoxo

Brent said...

Katrina you are amazing. I am so glad and thankful we are safe. The part that was scary for me is that you told me your dream before we ever went down to this area and then it turned out to be so real. We need to follow our impressions. Thank you for being so wonderful. I love you, Brent