The Making of a Zion Canyoneering Guide
It’s time to devote some energy to the better half of what Sol Fitness Adventures represents: wilderness, and all things wild. We’ll start with the “Webb F-1’s.” The F is short for filial, of course, meaning my pure genotypical parents’ offspring; all nerdy biologists kids know this.
One of the most memorable aspects of my childhood was being outside with my biologist father, Merrill Webb. He not only took us into the wild, but actually encouraged us to bring a little of the wild home, as he brought it to his science classrooms. My earliest pets were snakes, toads and lizards smuggled home in emptied pillowcases; crayfish tossed into the fish aquarium to devour my goldfish during dinner; and even a hawk in the basement when I was still in diapers. I was about 12 when we finally did get a dog, and by then the concept of taking a pet for a walk was an absurdity to me.
At 8 years old I learned to meditate through the meticulous pinning of insects, which had to be preserved in painstakingly perfect form in order to honor their sacrificial deaths. One of the first betrayals of my life occurred when I was told that my younger brother had actually sold my insects one by one to his high school biology class; the beginnings of what would become a successful sales career for him, I suppose. I had given up insect collecting for good by then. My personal bioethics had begun to evolve – I was attending college on the 4-H monies earned by killing poor bugs for my own glory.
Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly cagey in my urban environs, I think back to the time when I was proudly referred to as a “Webb F-1.” There would be a congregation at the dinner table, heads bent over fragile butterflies, anatomy tests spread for grading, the sound of someone playing the piano, the smell of homemade toast in the air; silence broken only by the hissing words, “Who shook the table?”
There’s no doubt that my eccentric upbringing lent itself naturally to my becoming a personal trainer / Zion canyoneering guide. Thanks to my childhood I’m in my element guiding adventurous travelers on Sol’s Redrock Backpacker: Zion Outskirts trip. This is me. This is what I do. Join me!