A few weeks back, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. A light breeze blew through our remote dispersed campsite, the only source of noise for miles.
As I do pretty much every morning, I grabbed the backpacking stove, heated a couple liters of water, and made pour-over coffee for myself and English breakfast tea for Daniel. We cooked scrambled eggs and toast on the camp stove, lounged in our camp chairs for a while, then packed up and ventured down the dirt highway toward Peekaboo and Spooky Canyons, two well-reviewed slot canyon hikes about thirty miles south of the nearest paved road.
We parked the van about a mile from the trailhead and hiked in, leaving the rough high clearance four-wheel-drive road to the better-equipped (with Jeeps and trucks) and the fearlessly stupid (with soon-to-be-mangled sedans). The hike took us down a few hundred feet of slickrock and gravel before turning a corner to reveal the entrance to the first slot canyon.
My heart sank when it came into view. A gaggle of 40 or 50 schoolchildren was milling about, waiting in a half-hour line to enter the canyon.
“God damn it,” I muttered, “is it Saturday?”
Saturday: The new worst day of the week
I’ve lived my entire life on basically the same schedule: 5 days on, 2 days off. I remember that routine from as far back as preschool, when Saturday and Sunday meant time at home with my parents and Monday through Friday meant another early morning trip to the daycare. As a fourth grader, I took a liking to those trite Garfield cartoons and their endlessly repeated refrain: Mondays are the worst.
For the past few years, Sunday nights have been the real culprit, consistently putting me in a depressed mood as I anticipated the work week ahead. The usual inflow of Sunday night work e-mails didn’t help.
Then, about two months ago, as we began our travels, the strangest thing happened: I stopped knowing or caring what day it was at all. Within just a few weeks, I had already lost track. How crazy is that? After decades of life dictated by the day of the week, all of a sudden, it didn’t matter. I think I’ve uttered the phrase “What day is it?” more in the past couple months than I had in my entire life prior. The only time we even really notice is on the weekend, when crowds of full-timers pack campsites and trails and remind us that we’re not the only ones who enjoy the outdoors.
Mondays, now, are the best day of the week. Campsites and trails are empty. Grocery stores are quiet. The working masses’ return to the office isn’t something to dread; it’s something we enjoy!
I’m often reminded of a few lines from a great song by Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer:
Look at all the poor bastards
Gotta go to work while I sleep
Look at all the poor drivers
Gotta go to work every time