The Island in the Sky
We couldn't have been more unprepared for the challenges the Island in the Sky would present to us that March. Neither Nathan nor I had ever backpacked before. Cody had been out a lot; he'd grown up in the mountains of souteast Idaho. Nathan and I were from opposite ends of the East Coast. Neither of us knew much about the American West, or about survival skills in general. So we trusted Cody when he said we should just bring one liter of water each. "Water's too heavy," he said, "and we'll find plenty along the way." So by the time we'd walked the first footsteps of a five-day journey, we'd already made one major mistake.
Walking down from that high plateau is a commitment. There is no easy journey back up to the road, and by extension, civilization. There is no easy journey to the Green River, either. We learned that after two full days of paralleling the river's course on top of another high plateau, searching through corkscrew drainages for puddles of water or even the holy grail--a passageway down to the river. Each twisting passage terminated in sheer cliffs. The river was so far down I was afraid to look.