Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

We Almost Died in Twin Falls

It was a lovely, easy hike along the bottom of the beautiful Snake River canyon.  Not another human being in sight.  Abe and I walked along, happy, relaxed, talking and joking.

We passed a waterfall.  We admired the layers of geological time etched on the walls of the canyon. We held each other and watched the green waters of the river roll quietly by.  We quarreled about whether the song "Shenandoah" was about the river or the valley.  We passed under the famous Perrine Bridge.  There was a trail leading up to its base and we could see maintenance ladders lacing the framework.  We wondered if we could climb around on the ladders but, assuming that was probably strictly prohibited and enforced by heavy fines, decided to move onward.    

We figured the trail would lead us up out of the canyon eventually and we would be able to follow the paved canyon rim trail back to the parking lot.  After we'd passed under the bridge, we found ourselves in the spot where the Twin Falls BASE jumpers landed when they did their thing, so we assumed there would be an easy way for them to get back out.  But when the trail petered off and eventually became impassable, we were left scratching our heads about how we could quickly get ourselves out of the canyon.   We really didn't want to retrace our steps, spending two hours hiking on the same pathway we'd just traversed, so Abe pulled out his phone to see if he could find any information online about how the BASE jumpers got out of the canyon.  Finally he found a website with some information.  "This guy says that there are three ways to get out of here: hike back the way we came, take a boat across the river, or climb up a trail right under the bridge."

"There's a trail under the bridge leading out of the canyon?" I asked.  I hadn't seen one.

"Yeah," Abe said.  "I guess it's that trail that leads up to the bottom of the bridge, the one we were thinking about climbing up anyway."

So we walked back to the bridge and began climbing up the mountain.

It was a steep path of dirt and loose rocks leading up to a path of heavy boulders and cliff wall.  From where we were, I really couldn't see the part of a trail that would allow us to easily walk out of the canyon.

"This would make a great gospel analogy," I told Abe as we climbed up the path.

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah," I said.  "Here we are, heading down a pathway that doesn't appear to lead out of the canyon at all.  We have to have faith in this guy who says that it is the way."

"I see," said Abraham.  "And we've got the testimonies of others who have passed this way before.  We trust in their words and we take a step forward into the darkness."  He hiked a little longer.  "I hate gospel analogies."

"Me too," I said.  "But my brain comes up with them all the time."

Abe laughed and we continued climbing up the path.

Finally the trail seemed to disappear, leaving us at the base of some large, heavy rocks.  It became clear we were going to have to do some bouldering.  I suddenly became keenly and dizzyingly aware of how high we had climbed.  "Oh well," I thought.  "We'll get past these big rocks and that will put us on the trail."  Abe climbed up first, to find a safe trail.  "It looks a little better up here," he told me.  So I followed, very carefully choosing each foot and hand hold.

When I reached Abraham and looked up, I groaned.  It did not look any better up there.  It looked equally steep and rocky.  But at this point it was nearly impossible to go back down, so we just kept climbing.  The climb went on forever, up a rock wall without a harness.  I silently, fervently asked God to get us out of here alive so we could go home to our babies.

In one particularly difficult section, someone had secured a knotted rope to a tree sticking out of the canyon wall.  Its presence reassured us that we were, indeed, on the trail that some idiot on the internet had failed to describe as being a potentially difficult trail to climb.  Abe gave me a hand up in the particularly rough spots and we both clung as tightly to the rocks as we could.    

Finally we reached the top.  "We're alive!"  I shouted.  "We are, indeed, alive," said Abe, looking pleased.  Then he smiled at me.  "Gee, honey," he said.  "Sorry I almost killed you on our tenth anniversary."

See the cliff under the left side of the bridge?  There is no trail on that thing.  It is a sheer rock wall that you will be forced to climb at the peril of your life.  The internet lies.  Do not put your faith in it.  

1 comment:

Eric Hill said...

Good story. Congrats on 10 years. Wow. Your marriage survived not only the possibility of death on a hike, but gospel analogies about death on a hike. That's awesome.


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