Sunday, November 3, 2013

Training Log - Sunday, November 3, 2013 (Arrow Canyon, Nevada)

Jeep Road leading into Arrow Canyon.
My wife head read about this hidden little gem, the Arrow Canyon Trail in Runner's World. It was listed as last month's "rave run". Since Arrow Canyon was just 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas, we definitely wanted to do it. After all, we wanted to put our rental car to good use as well. I had read all the info about how to access the trail via car, etc. and I thought I was logistically prepared and ready...I was not, but we got lucky and this little trip could have turned out a lot worse.

My beautiful wife inside the canyon.
We arrived at the entrance to the 2 mile jeep road leading to the canyon, a private drive, just after 9AM. I recognized the signs and followed the instructions I'd found on the internet. I knew we would be okay with our tiny rental car until we would reach the first creek crossing about 1 mile down the jeep road. This creek could be a raging river or a dry creek bed. Since it hadn't rained in a while, we fully expected the creek bed to be dry, possibly allowing us to cross and drive closer to the canyon entrance. The jeep road was a lot bumpier than I had hoped and our little "low rider" (Chevy Spark) was struggling to make it. We were being tossed around like rag dolls. It was kinda funny...until it wasn't.

Canyon walls near the canyon entrance.
When we arrived at the first creek crossing, the creek bed had dried out due to the lack of rain just as expected. However, it was washed out so badly that there was no way our little "Spark" was going to make it across. We decided to leave the car and start our run right here, but first I wanted to get the car turned around to be ready to go once we got back from our run. That's where things were no longer funny.

Narrowing trail leading into the canyon.
I started to turn the car around and had already made half of the 180 degree turn required, when the car suddenly decided to not move. The front wheels started to dig themselves into the soft desert sand immediately off to the sides of the jeep road. I immediately stopped and got out of the car to assess our options. While I did remember that one has to place objects under the tires to provide traction, I completely forgot that your floor mats are extremely useful for exactly this purpose. I failed to remember the many times my family and I would go to the wide sandy beaches of Denmark by car and how we'd often get stuck in the sand on our way closer to the Ocean and how my dad would use the floor mats to get us out. I completely forgot the many many "Top Gear" shows I watched were they would get stuck in some desert sand somewhere for our entertainment, only to use their floor mats to get themselves out of these situations. Instead, I started to walk up and down the creek bed looking for sticks and rocks to put under our front tires. 90 minutes and many attempts later, we finally managed to get ourselves dug out.    

Dry creek bed/trail.
Since we had already made plans for lunch that day, we decided to still go for our run, but to cut it short. My wife was also still struggling with the after affects of flu like symptoms and breathing was extremely laborous for her. Since we had 3 extra miles to run due to inaccessibility of the canyon entrance via car, it meant that we wouldn't make it to the actual slot canyon in time to keep our previous commitment. However, the run still turned out to be well worth it, providing beautiful views of the canyon.

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