|on the trail from Monument to Hermit|
|between Hermit and Boucher|
To believe that life smooths out like the Colorado does after the rapids, to a placid brown ribbon flowing through the dark cliffs. To believe that you will figure it out, how to have the life you want, to make it through the long dark days of winter and the computer screen and wondering if you've really done enough with your life. Like I said, reasons to believe.
You don't see the campsite at Hermit Creek until you're almost upon it. You've walked across a broad bench and around the circular cut of the cliff and finally, there you are. The best thing about Hermit could easily be this pool, deep and cold and big enough to swim in. Or it could be a short walk upriver with a series of cascading waterfalls, where nobody seems to go. From here you can take an impulsive fourteen mile dayhike to the remote Boucher River, another deep chasm where you won't see anyone for hours. Or you can walk down to the rapids and hang out in sand as soft as pillows. It is, pretty much, paradise.
|Gasp. A Selfie. At hermit rapids. One of my favorite places ever.|
|plunge pool at Hermit Creek|
|Boucher River drainage|
But everything ends, right? So when you hear the crunch of feet heading to the composing toilet on your last morning, you sigh and get up, packing by headlamp, for the nine mile climb out. And it isn't too bad, steeper than you remember, with rockfall you have to climb over. There's a ranger at the two mile rest house, and day hikers near the top, and the next night's campers tap-tapping their way down, kind of late in the day in your opinion, and you get to the top and catch the free shuttle bus back to the village and the people around the rim are spending their eleven minutes allotted looking in and you know something they don't. And you also know this: you really just want to hang on to the feeling you had in the canyon when all you had to do was believe.