We all lose track of the days as they pass by. Each day gets another, “I’ll finish this tomorrow” or “Maybe next time” and even a few “See you soons." The fact is, life doesn’t get any easier or slower. We continue to fall victim to work and family related responsibilities and pressures. As one item falls off the list, it is inevitably filled with another. The list gets longer and longer. One thing that I try to do is add some items on my list that have to do with me. Something to help recharge the soul and put a smile on my
face, and hopefully, on the face of another. I found myself constantly
making excuses for not getting down to Moab to see a dear friend of mine. I have known Mick for some years now. We met through BASE jumping and our families have since become good friends. We converse from time to time through text, email and the occasional phone call. Hearing his Welsh/German mixed accent on the other end of the line always pulls the corners of my face up. Mick is a source of knowledge, experience and best of all, fun. As competent and skilled as he is in his backcountry and BASE knowledge, he’s not flashy or boastful. The consummate, quiet professional. I had to make time to see him. So I added him to my list, and off I went.
I let Mick know a few days ahead of seeing him that my goal when I came to town wasn’t to cram as many jumps in as I could. I wanted to just hang out. I hadn’t seen his beautiful wife and charismatic, charming young daughters in such a long time (or at all for that matter) and wanted to use my time in town to catch up, chew the fat and add a few moments of life with him. He was willing to oblige. But insisted on taking me to a few of his favorite jumps anyway. I was willing to oblige.
Ten miles before turning south off of I-70, Mick asked if I could pick up pizzas on my way into town. Good thing. I was starving! I arrived at the house full of smiling faces and two little princesses showing off for me. We enjoyed dinner and caught up on everything we had been missing out on over the years. Mick decided to go over the logistics of a beautiful jump that he wanted to take me to. It’s not far from the famous Fisher Towers south of the Colorado River and east of Moab. A popular hiking and rock climbing site, Parriott Mesa is an amazing place. I had not jumped it yet so I was very excited.
We would wake up early the next morning and it would still be 85+ degrees. So much for high desert cool mornings. We arrived at the landing area, finalize our gear and made our way up the foothill and talus before starting the scramble and climb to the top. I have since decided that I need to go back out here and spend the night up top. What an amazing view. If it weren't for a little bit of weather moving in and the potential for winds and rain, I would have stayed up top and listened to the silence for hours. With weather pressing, we rig up give some hand-shakes and smiles and off we go. The best part of this jump is that you get to fly your canopy down and along the talus almost the entire way to the landing. We greet each other in the landing area with big smiles and high fives. Afterwards we grabbed breakfast at a local diner that Mick likes to go to, but his wife isn’t much of a fan of, so he uses the excuse of having company in town to make an appearance. Who was I to deny a good friend of such a simple indulgence!?
To repay Mick and his wife for my free room and board, I agreed to watch their two daughters for a couple hours, but what seemed like a weekend, while they ran a few errands. I only have one child who is now nearly 12. If you’ve never been around two supercharged little girls who know that they can effectively do whatever they want now that mom and dad are gone and the helm has been left to a pushover who is in way over his head, it’s quite scary and a little nerve racking. I’d be much more comfortable hucking myself off a cliff. But I kept a lid on things and the house didn’t burn down, so I call it a success.
Unfortunately, the other “special place” that Mick wanted to take me to wasn’t quite as forgiving. We hiked to the exit point and missed the wind by literally 5 minutes. Although hiking down in the near dark in some of these areas of Moab is a bit sketchy, watching the sunset in the red rock landscape with a good friend makes for a good consolation prize. Mick and I decided that we would try again in the morning and situate a car downriver on the Colorado River for a little post jump paddling
adventure. The next morning the hike, scramble and climb is a little easier after seeing if for a second time in18 hours and the winds and weather are cooperative. It was worth the second try. After the jump we hike out of the canyon to the truck, grab the kayak and SUP and head across the street to the mighty Colorado River.
With Arches National Park on one side and the cliffs below the world famous Slick Rock Trail on the other, we paddled, chatted and laughed our way down the Colorado River to our pick up vehicle. After another evening with the family and a few beers over laughs were enjoyed, it was time to call my visit to a close. Not nearly long enough (not that they ever are), Mick and I both agreed to see each other again soon. So, back on the “To Do” list Moab went.