We love to find places that are incredibly scenic and a bit off the beaten path. Driving for miles on a rough 4×4 trail or putting those miles on my soles is often required to get there. It’s always worth it.
Hurrah Pass is a trail that crosses and follows a creek, winds up a curvy 4×4 road, passing stacks of petrified red mud and clay-model-like canyons, and lands on top of an overlook to take your breath away. Gazing out from the top of the pass, you have a moment of unreality as you can see the effects of the valley before you once being liquid. There’s an unexpected curve in the valley, and the stacks and crevasses stretch out in a 360 degree view.
I suppose I should just let the photos do the talking. This is the internet, after all. Last time we were on top of this pass, it had just stopped raining, and we were blessed with both an overwhelming sunset and a vibrant rainbow!
This time, we were determined to find somewhere along the once liquid stone to rig my silks. This turned out to be rather difficult. From the top of the pass, we hiked around searching for a spot for about an hour and a half. One of the problems with the area is that much of the red stone is petrified mud… that is crumbly and awfully close to becoming dirt or mud again. This means that we can’t set up an anchor around a mud tower or in a crack in the crumbly rock. There are also no trees to anchor from.
Our other problem was looming overhead as clouds rolled in and started to wet the rocks and soils around us. We generally avoid rigging in storms. The rain could compromise our anchor if it’s sandstone based, as well as making my silks slick to hang onto. If there’s lightning, well… we all know to avoid that.
Still, we were hoping for a break in the weather, and we thought we might be able to set up a tripod anchor from a boulder on the top of the mound of stone towers down to the next level of stone towers. When Devon climbed up to the top, however, he found that those boulders we thought we were looking at from below were actually just globs of stone sitting on top of loose crumbly soil.
With that option ruled out, he was finding his way back down when he spotted a neat overhung rock with streaks of white flashing through it. Upon closer inspection, he found that just above that rock, we had exactly what we needed for a safe anchor – a solid sandstone arch about two feet thick.
So, having found a suitable spot, we retreated to our truck for a few hours to wait for the approaching sunset and hopefully corresponding break in the clouds. With the skies still a bleak white, we weren’t very hopeful, but we decided to set up anyway.
This was a simple anchor – just a climbing/rappelling anchor doubled up and backed up to a boulder to the side. Being close to the ground and feeling the connection with the leading white lines, I set up my fabric as silks. The sky stubbornly refused to clear up or display a real sunset. We were socked in. Only a few minutes of stormy photos, and the rain caught up with us. I packed the silks into a rain-resistant rope bag and we hid under the overhang, trying to keep a sense of humor about how these photoshoots sometimes work out.
The rain decided to only drizzle for a few minutes though, so we set up again. Reminded of my joyous dancing in the rain as a child, I appreciated the beauty of God’s creation in the midst of the kind of weather that usually sends most of us humans inside.
Though the photos of Hurrah Pass aren’t the most artistic or the most beautiful or the most dramatic of our photoshoots, I appreciate them for this reason: when we persevere, we can see the perfection of life’s imperfections. We can see the eerie beauty of steel grey clouds and feel the drops of water as this land has felt the water shape it for centuries.