Monday, November 14, 2011

Black Magic Canyon is Magic

Last Sunday, (11-06-11) the kids and I took a trip down to Southern Idaho. We planned on exploring a stretch of Highway 75, north of Shoshone, known as the Sawtooth Scenic By-way. We had been told about a place called, "Black Magic Canyon," and our hearts were set on finding it and exploring the canyon. 

We arrived in Shoshone about 11:30am and started up HWY 75 as our directions stated. After about 4 passes on the 14 mile stretch of road following the directions carefully,  we decided to start asking for help. We made it back to Shoshone and started asking locals on the street, in gas stations; cafes....."Do you know where Black Magic Canyon is?" one, and I mean no one had ever heard of it.... "I have lived here all my life and never heard of it"....was a common reply. As we headed back up 75, we laughed and imagined what it would be like to live your entire life in Shoshone, Idaho, pop, 1, 200. 

We resorted to asking farmers along the way...same one had heard of it. I mean, c'mon, we came all this way, we were going to find this place. I KNEW it existed, I had seen pictures, I had a map from the BLM that said it was 14 miles north of Shoshone on Highway 75. How hard is that?  Finally, a farmer suggested we ask the owner of the souvenir shop near the ice caves. The farmer was right, the owner knew just where it was......we were only about a half a mile away, and he gave us perfect directions, I wanted to hug him. 

As we drove up and saw the historical marker, we were screaming like we hit pay-dirt. Yet, all we could see was flat desert, and sagebrush, so it left me wondering just a bit.   Musa and Retta took off running down the trail and Musa yelled back....'Mom there is no way you are gonna be able to get down here, the canyon is pretty steep".....

I thanked him for looking out for me, but reminded him I would make my own decisions about what I could or could not do. I took my time donning my warrior spirit and gathering my assistive devices. Oh, if there was one thing this woman was gonna do.... I was going to walk that river bed.  

I told the kids to go ahead and I would meet up soon, as I carefully began to  transverse my way down the first set of rocks. By wearing flexible mountain climbing shoes it helped my feet grab onto the stones. The trekking sticks helped as extra balance, and the white moss on the rock was very dry which actually aided in my footing. It almost acted like a soft mat. The gripper gloves also helped grip whatever I could grab. Score. Trust, this was done very slowly, but very confidently. 

Done. Made it down the first set of rocks, now I just needed to climb up and over some larger rocks to reach the riverbed. This involved everything from, semi-crawling; sitting on large rocks and rolling around a bit until I made it to the other side; tiny steps; large steps (that I thought I was incapable of) laughing; patience and some angel wings. I could hear the kids up ahead, yelling and having a blast. Next thing I knew I stepped my first step into the bottom of the canyon.....I sneaked up behind Musa and said, "Hi".......  the kids broke out in cheers and I was high-fived to the stars. 

The rest was easy.....well, easy for a woman who's entire spine has been re-constructed with massive metal rods, hooks, screws and bolts. Easy for a woman who's knees don't bend much at all. Easy! No sweat. 

We spent hours playing in the rock formations, pretending, finding treasures (not allowed to carry any rocks out), and of course taking pictures. Black Magic Canyon is Magic. Retta was lost in her geology, volcanist world as Musa reveled in his new rock climbing and camera posing  skills. I continued to walk around in awe of the beauty of the canyon and of the imagination and playful spirits of the kids, so proud of myself that I could let them experience such a beautiful place. All the pain, and self-rehab and brain work was all worth it on this day. 

Shortly after we returned home, I was reminded by my sister that it was ten years ago that I was in a Johns Hopkins Hospital bed on life support after undergoing the massive re-constructive spinal surgery. When I woke from the surgery, I prayed I would die because the pain was so hideous. I was covered with incisions and tubes and IV's.....I feared I would never walk again. 

But I did walk again......

I am a warrior woman. I walk. I breathe. I climb. I mother. I laugh. I am phenomenal. 

Some of the first rocks we had to climb down. Doesn't look that steep, trust it  is. 

The second stage before getting to the magical river bed. 

Made it! Wow!

Retta in jail!

It is so amazing, so many unique sculptured formations. 

Musa in jail pose....of course. 

Musa with some more adventurous rock climbing.

Warrior Woman rocks.....literally!

Felt like I was back in time, or on another planet. 

You can walk through areas like this for miles. 

Retta and Cooper seeking shelter from the imaginary things chasing them.  

My beautiful Retta. The white stuff on the rock to the left is this amazing white moss. It looks slimy, but it is very dry. 

Warrior woman continues on, loving every step. 

Doesn't this look fun? It just goes on and on. 

The art gallery. 

White moss. Coolest stuff. 

Yetti footsteps......and yes, Yetti eggs. 

No wonder we couldn't find it, it is so well hidden. I sorta hope it stays this way.

Excerpt taken from the Historical marker: of the least known geological features in Idaho

...the Big Wood River sliced a narrow gash through a thick layer of lava rock that once gushed from a nearby crater. The relentless force of water on rock created a remarkable place called Black Magic Canyon.

...natural sculpture garden

.... chiseled the entire canyon walls and riverbed, into spaces that excite the imagination. 

...portholes and keyholes appear in solid rock, offering windows into secret places. 

...started 10,000 yrs ago when Black Butte, located 1.5 miles SW erupted. temperatures were rising and the last ice age was waning. Glaciers in nearby mountains were melting...huge volumes of glacial melt laden with hard granite and quartz, surged through the Big Wood River for thousands of years. a sculptures chisel, these harder stones scoured and carved the softer basalt rock of the Black Butte lava flow.  
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  1. Thanks Krista, you are pretty darn remarkable yourself.