ZAC Memories in Verse from Bob Shear

Bob Shear was kind enough to send us this EPIC poem, written in antiquity, describing the adventure he and his brothers had with us in early 2000. Thanks, Bob!

The Shear Boys in Zion

My brothers and I went to ZAC in March 2000 for a half-day training and a self-guided descent of Keyhole Canyon. Though we were all in our 50s, we had never really done anything together, and it became quite an adventure. Two of us, myself and Dick, continued on with canyoneering for quite a while. I still have my gear, and hopes to return to Zion some day soon.

Anyway, in the fall of that year, my brother, Chet, and I got into a little poetry competition, and I wrote the story of our Zion Adventure in (not very good) verse. Here it is:

It started in March, Millenium Year
Phone call from brother: “Hey, come on out here.”
“We can hike canyons and rap off the cliffs.
Come on you sissies, no buts, ands, or ifs.”

So onto the planes got two city Shears
Not been together for so many years.
First came the elder, a poet to some.
Then came the younger, least athletic one.

Slot machine airport, crude talk in the car
Competitive impulse never too far.
This time was different, they saw right away,
A new joy together, grown-ups at play.

Evening at the RV; late to our beds,
Adventure videos still stuck in our heads.
Then off to Springdale, and weird rubber shoes.
Trainer both sounded and looked like Tom Cruise.

“Just clip in your your harness” was all he said.
Then back off a cliff?! Some faces were red.
Despite our worst fears we gave it a shot.
We knew how to do it! This shit is HOT!

When lunches at last were all put away,
It’s time to tell the young Cruise-like guy, hey.
We headed to Zion to find Keyhole
‘Twas that canyon our virginity stole.

Left at the bottom? There’s nothing much there!
Let’s put on the blue suits; I’ll comb my hair.
We’ll make a video; claim we were lost.
‘Twill really be funny; well worth the cost.

Pretend we are frightened, just like Blair Witch.
“It’s cold in my Dry Suit! Son of a bitch!”
That was Chet griping, one for the Gipper,
Into cold water (forgot the zipper).The joke was on us, it later was shown
We’re way off the map. We ARE on our own!

Don’t see a pine tree we can tie onto
Better turn back, and hightail it pronto.
Dick tries to scramble way up on a cliff,
He almost might make it..if…if..only if…
Then down he came sliding, caught my left arm,
Only Chet’s tight grip to keep us from harm

That was quite different! We laughed ’till we cried.
Dick tried to save us, and quite nearly died!
Suddenly dawns the realization,
Did it together! Whole new sensation!

Now laughing and giggling all the way back
Time we saw Springdale the sky had gone black.
We are just happy to be back alive
But Jonathan says: “It’s way after five!”

Couldn’t have given a damn by that time
Just wanted to wash off the grit and slime
Walked to the tavern for good dinner
Boy was I UP! A happy beginner.

So began a new chapter together
Bodies were heavy, hearts light as feather.
First time to Zion, we never will top
Regular email may now never stop.

Got through a day that was quite alarmin’.
Now feel quite different. We find it charmin’.
Each one back home, himself he is armin’
With Maptech and a small yellow Garmin.


About Nick

Nick Wilkes found ZAC in 1996, working first as an outfitter, then a guide, then as webmaster. An ardent adventure enthusiast, Nick's recent exploits involve laying down roots in Wisconsin, chasing his kids around the house, working as a Madison, WI photographer and growing his Wisconsin climbing business. Connect with Nick on Facebook, Google+, or directly via email.
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