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There is something about tight spaces that unnerves some people and energizes others. Perhaps there is a connection with how we face the squeezing, challenging times of life.

Last week my DH and I were able to explore the narrow slots of Peek-a-boo and Spooky in Escalante. Just getting into Peek-a-boo meant negotiating a difficult, 12 ft. wall. Neither of us would have been able to do it alone, and many opt to hike up and around the slot, coming down the wall last instead. But together we over came that first obstacle and the many that followed.

Sometimes we had to stop and evaluate how best to negotiate a passage. Sometimes we had to remove our packs just to squeeze through. Sometimes it seemed we couldn’t go on, but then we’d find a way. And often, we laughed and enjoyed the ridiculous positions the challenges often reduced me to.

Between Peek-a-boo and Spooky we became lost. (Us and about five other groups that wandered around that day.) We shared with each other what we had experienced down certain options; we looked at maps together and tried to decipher them, and we got to know each other a bit. At one point nearly halfway through Spooky, my DH and I were stopped with the prospect of a path that continued several feet above our heads with large suspended boulders blocking the way. Just then another couple arrived from the opposite direction and they had a rope that they lowered to us, helping us through one more obstacle.

The biggest challenge of the day was following misleading paths that led to our getting lost. We eventually learned which ways did not lead to where we wanted to go. Meanwhile we made the most of the time, explored a plateau,took pictures of wild flowers and yarrow bushes, and soaked up the fall sunshine.

Lessons from the slots:

  • Challenges are best faced with someone else.
  • Sometimes strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.
  • Even (especially?) in the most difficult of circumstances, laughter is good.
  • When you don’t know where to go or what choice to make, keep moving.
  • Don’t be misled, but if you are, learn from your mistakes.
  • After the tight squeeze, everything opens up and you can see for miles.
  • Some of the best memories come from the most difficult times.

And the hilarious part? You would have had to be there. But no worries, I’ve deleted those pictures.

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