Canyon Tales
Danger Day
by Penny Martens

Malia and I were the last of the Tom’s Canyon festers to leave Sandthrax on Halloween morning. After a great time with new friends and all new canyons for Malia, we headed to Bluff to clean up bodies and gear, repair bodies and gear, and to hot tub, hot tub, hot tub.

November 1, I was ready for the final shower. You know the one. Exfoliate, defoliate, shampoo, suds, condition, moisturize, nothing left undone before heading back out to the canyons. I turned on the heat lamp, adjusted the water, and stepped in. I had just wet my hair and cleared my eyes of water. KABOOM!! What the heck was that?! I stared at the shower curtain as if I would somehow possess x–ray vision for the first time in my life. Then I notice dancing light reflected on the curtain. Oh Shit!! Fire! I threw back the curtain and had about 2 seconds to see flames licking what was left of the heat lamp and glass on every surface of the room. Then the fire went out and the light went off. I was now standing in the pitch dark, water running, and sabers everywhere.

I turned off the water and did what every good and brave canyoneer does. I called for my partner, “Malia?” No answer.

“MALIA!!” Nothing.

Stemming moves were going to be required to reach the door handle, light from the other room, and safety. One foot was on the rim of the tub next to the wall, the other on the edge of the tub. Sure wish I had my 5.10 Canyoneers. Slip. I sprung for the only hold available, the curtain rod. I sure wish I had checked that anchor better. The rod held and my foot landed in the tub.

Pain. There was glass in the tub. I gingerly felt the wound hoping to find a tender cut. No such luck. My finger came to rest on a shard of glass firmly imbedded in the side of my foot. In the dark it felt like the size of a generous piece of pizza. In reality, there was room for a 2–finger–and–thumb grasp. No tweezers needed for this sucker. A firm hold and a determined pull removed the object. So it was back to stemming, but I needed friction.

Being an innovative canyoneer, I used what was already in the area. I placed the shower curtain between my foot and edge of the tub. It worked well and I found myself reaching ... reaching ... reaching into the darkness. Somewhere out there in the void was a door handle. Fully extended, I gave the last bit of stretch that was left in my shoulder. Contact.

I opened the door. Light poured in like a cloudy sunrise. I found the light and flicked the switch off then on. The light came on revealing a sparkling wonderland of broken glass everywhere. There was no sense in crossing the mine field twice, so I lowered myself back into the pothole, er, I mean, bath tub to find blood running down the drain. It wasn’t bad but in all the excitement I forgot I was wounded.

To add insult to injury, after housekeeping had cleaned up the mess and Malia had showered, I went for one last pee before hitting the road. Somehow invisible glass had stuck to the ring and, when I sat, it found a new home in my butt.

Man, this ‘in town’ stuff is dangerous! I can’t wait to get back to the safety of canyons.


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© 2007 Penny Martens