14. Land of Enchantment
“Creeksgiving” 2018

“Creeksgiving” 2018

Our tribe used to gather in Indian Creek, Utah to celebrate Thanksgiving in the time before the secret of this amazing place became widespread knowledge among climbers. Before the trailheads of The Creek were choked with Sprinter vans and its quiet nights shattered by generators to power all-night parties, we enjoyed a quieter kind of celebration here.

It was called “Creeksgiving”.

Mid-November every year, Tom would start the digital conversation with talk of weather and logistics, food lists and time frames. Some of us would head out earlier, climbing towers on our way out; others later, just in time for the food and company. Regardless of when we’d show up at camp, we all made that turn onto UT-211: the turn that took us out of cell service and into The Creek; and we’d all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we’d entered the world of real-life, face-to-face conversations, beautiful sandstone cracks for days, music around the campfire, dirt under our fingernails, grease on our faces, and smoke in our hair.

These days the secret is out and Indian Creek is overrun. And so these days our tribe meets elsewhere: a place equally beautiful but still quiet and serene. We still get dirt in our fingernails and smoke in our hair. We still get our face-to-face conversations and music around the campfire and amazing climbing. Ray brings the meat and size-six cams; the rest of us fill the gaps with pies and side dishes. Tom brings the spiced cider and jalapeño poppers (there’s usually always a day-wrecker in the bunch). There’s a bottle or three of tequila to pass around the fire at night, a musical ensemble including guitars, banjos, harmonicas, and the flute. Evan wears his safety glasses around the fire and someone inevitably falls in the fire while pallet-dancing.

Our tribe is architects, engineers, pilots, programmers, lawyers, children, a rowdy toddler (guess who); our tribe is athletes, mothers, friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, uncles, aunts (Hugo has so many uncles and aunts, and we love it).

Our tribe is strong.

Our tribe is love.

We are thankful.


Driving into camp we passed many cows. Needless to say, Hugo was enthralled.
The gang up at Mangy Crag. This photo taken just before Hugo fell into a cactus and screamed bloody murder. (!!)



The kiddie section of the crag – we were able to find a nice, fairly flat spot for Hugo and Anna.
A cloudy, colorful sunset.
Digging into the Thanksgiving feast.
Daddy and son relaxing around the campfire.
Stéphane showing off his new Army of Darkness tee (and his fabulous muscles) – back off ladies, he’s all mine!!!!
Giving Hugo a joy-ride around camp.
The tribe around the fire at night.
The many side dishes warming up in the coals.
Hugo enjoyed clambering around on the low rocks surrounding our camp.
He LOVES his yellow car (and rolling his eyes; I did not teach him that one, neither did Stéphane…)
Jamming with daddy.
Melisa cruising Brown Sugar
He loves making faces.
Me starting up Pelvic Floor.


A musical evening. Hugo is enchanted by Sarah’s flute.
The gang at the base of Brown Sugar.
Tom cracks a smile belaying Stéphane. The weather finally warmed enough for us to clamber up to Brown Sugar for a quick lap.
Melisa goofing off.
A cool panorama from Brown Sugar.
Susan & Melisa.
The beautiful sandstone crags of Escalante.
Another unreal sunset.
Chords around the campfire.
Pallet fire dancing. It’s a thing with our tribe.
Camp art.


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