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Canyon Calling


It was black! Pitch black! ...

I choose death...Not so much as a glow from the rocks! Within seconds the heat became overwhelming and panic was setting in. The darkness, the heat, the thunder! Then suddenly Junior began belting out chants that filled the last bit of air in the womb. Panic, heat, oxygen, darkness, chanting! My mind went into a tizzy. "I've gotta get out of here. --My God, I can't take this for even ten seconds!" Can I gracefully leap over Junior, dart around the thousand-degree rocks and scoot through the exit without causing a scene?

No! I would insult their culture, their sacred circle, and they would undoubtedly never stop talking about the white girl that couldn't take a Sweat for more than ten seconds. The choice was clear. I would either insult the Ute people or die in this sweat lodge. I chose death.

My mouth on Mother Earth...

I choose life...The HOT air was near unbearable and I tried desperately to focus on something besides my lack of oxygen. Remembering that air is cooler near the ground I quickly started sucking precious oxygen from the ground.

Everyone was chanting now and with my mouth and nose firmly planted on Mother Earth I started enjoying the sounds of their native language.

Sweat was dripping down my face, over my nose, and down my back - suddenly I heard myself chanting with them. I would live!

After twenty minutes (and 10 gallons of sweat) Junior opened the flap. Air! Glorious air! I peeled myself off the ground and managed to look up at Sandra who didn't have the strength to look back at me.

Round two...

Wa-a-a-a...Junior led the group in prayers and thoughts from the heart, when all too soon it was time for round two. The flap went down, heat filled the womb, Polly hit the deck.

After surviving another HOT round of chanting, each person, one by one, prayed for my safety as I embark on this great journey around the earth. They prayed for the women that I was fighting for and asked that I be given strength and good health.

With virtually no warning I became overwhelmed with humility and started to cry. I cried and cried and cried. The chanting, the heat, the darkness, the thunder, the prayers, and now the crying - I was clearly in a place I had never been before.

Left for dead...

Just 20 more minutes...When the flap was lifted for the third time, hot rocks were reloaded while Sandra and I stood by with really frightened eyes. The last round would not be an easy one. The rocks were hotter than ever and I had no more sweat to sweat.

Just seconds into round four Sandra was having a difficult time. Although she was right next to me I had to feel around for her. My hand found her shoulder and I whispered "Put your mouth towards the ground, it's cooler there". She dropped instantly.

I've never felt such heat -- such sweat. The mouth-to-the-earth trick wasn't working anymore and I began to feel dizzy. "Oh God, don't let me pass out. Just twenty more minutes. Focus!" I curled up into the fetal position on the dirt ground and the thought that this is how they might find the body didn't seem to bother me.

The flap opened for the last time and there was barely enough light to see each other. Sandra was rocking back and forth crying, "Daddy! Daddy!" I was lying on the ground in the fetal position, covered in sweat and left for dead.

"Junior," I managed to mumble from my puddle as he exited over my remains, "Could you get me some water?"

"See Della," I heard him whisper, "This is why this will never become a tourist attraction."

Polly’s prize is fabulous...

CruiseshipShe has won an all-inclusive 7-night cruise on Temptress Adventure Cruises in one of the most naturally beautiful areas of the world -- the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama. She’ll have the delicious opportunity of interacting with nature -- swimming under cascading waterfalls, hiking through pristine rainforests or, maybe, simply taking part in some serene bird watching. She can snorkle, scuba dive, water ski to her heart’s delight or, perhaps, just relax on the sun deck with a good book. The choice is her’s for one whole week. Lucky woman! Talented Woman! Congratulations, Polly!
P.S. Want to follow Polly’s Global Walk Adventures? You can catch the action at

Temptress Adventure CruisesThe guidelines for this competition have been independently set by We thank Temptress Adventure Cruises for sponsoring She Adventures -- A Journeywoman travel writing competition for women and for choosing the winning entry. Together it is our aim to inspire women to travel safely and well.



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