Pot Hole Ninja or Mouse in a Bucket?

I had the wonderful opportunity to go through an amazing canyon with some amazing people a few years back. I loved every minute of my day in Imaly, especially the pot holes. :)

It was an incredibly beautiful morning in Zion. The air had a slight bite to it that refreshed and woke up the blood and the sky was a beautiful melding of orange, red and dusky blue. The approach to Imlay is a bit of a walk and Imlay itself a long canyon so we needed to get to the drop-in quickly.

With Steve in the lead we made excellent time getting there (anyone who knows Steve and Clark know that they can MOVE when they need to).

We dropped in and had a fairly relaxed and enjoyable time making our way through the first part of the canyon. We stopped for some lunch and to drag our wetsuits on part way through. I am one of those weird people who really enjoy the water portions of canyons and was looking forward to suiting up for it. I was being a little bit over excited I think. I am not sure I have ever been more cold (water fatigued) at the end of the day as I was that day. Yet, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I could not even tell you when or where in that day we ran into our first pot hole. We were laughing and having a grand old time. We all dropped in and Steve did his Ninja thing and climbed right out. Clark was to be the person who helped us get out from in the pot hole, but being me I said 'I wanted to do it myself'. Famous last words. He scampered out easily and with him and Steve waiting and watching, MeLisa and I set to getting ourselves out too.

I don't know how many of you have done Imlay and conditions always vary, but you should know that not all pot holes are created equally. Some are incredibly deep and take a lot more technical experience than others. Some are shallow and take less skill and more brute strength to get out of. Our pot hole was one of the brute strength ones. In a word, little.

MeLisa and I talked out what we were going to do and set to get ourselves out. Apparently we weren't nearly as Ninja like as Clark and Steve. Our first few attempts left us sliding gently and easily back into the water. The place we were supposed to exit slopped so we had to work our way up the rock and in our defense, it also was super slippery. We tried flowing gently to the edge and easing our way out. We tried launching ourselves at the exit. We tried helping each other out. We did in fact look not like ninjas but like mice in a bucket. Mice when put in a bucket will pull each other down in their attempt to get themselves out thus making it impossible for any of them to get out. Helping each other just made us slip more (and laugh more which doesn't help anything). Yep, Mice.

We probably tried for 20 minutes to get out of that pot hole while Clark and Steve watched our ridiculous attempts at muscling our way out. They finally decided they were done sitting and pulled us out. I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

The rest of the canyon was a blur of jumping and rappelling and few more pot holes. I loved the final rappel and was glad to finally be hitting the narrows and our glimpse of warmth and food at the end of the tunnel. I slept like the dead that night. My body exhausted from the long day and all the water.

I don't remember every detail of that trip but I will never forget that first pot hole. It was a great lesson in knowing your own strengths but mostly it was a really fun time with really great friends. That's what canyoneering is to me, a really fun time with really great friends. Someday, I will be a Ninja like Clark and Steve but in the meantime I am just glad they let me tag along and pull me out of buckets when I can't pull myself out.


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