I am one of the few lucky ones.
Typically planning an adventure is very last minute for me, as I will take any long weekend and find a new area to explore. So I never even contemplated making the effort to submit a request for The Wave online lottery four months in advance. Therefore, my only chance of securing this highly contested permit is via the walk-in lottery held each morning at 9am sharp at the Kanab Civic Center.
I’ve never been a gambler, but I would kick myself if I didn’t at least try to beat the odds.
So here is the scoop: doors open at 8:30am and only one person from your party can enter the gym to fill out your application. Every applicant is assigned a number in the order you arrived and the waiting begins. The ranger will pick a maximum of four groups or 16 people, whichever comes first. (This is in addition to the 12 permits already granted online to the travelers who actually do plan ahead.)
Minutes inch by as you read through brochures of other local hikes as a backup plan in the event you don’t win. You also cringe as any new person enters the room, as your odds continue to dwindle.
Then at 9am, the old fashioned bingo ball wheel spins and it’s go time. Here was my timeline:
Tuesday – day 1 – #21 of 24 applicants, 16% chance – not chosen
Wednesday – day 2 – unlucky #13 of 23 applicants, 17% chance – no dices
Thursday – day 3 – my lucky #25 of 29 applicants, 13% chance – still didn’t win
Friday – day 4 – #40 of 68 applicants, 5% chance (this last day of the work week is always bigger as permits are granted not only for Sat but also Sun & Mon) – OMFG!!!!
My golden ticket was the second number called and I inadvertently yelled out “holy sh$&”, completely dumbfounded. The kicker is that if my number had been called later on in the drawing, I would have had to forfeit as I had a flight Saturday night back in Vegas to catch for the second leg of my trip to the coveted Hawaii.
After a few tears of joy welled up in the corners of my eyes, I couldn’t shake the big smile off my face for the next 48 hours. It was time to cross this hike off the top of my bucket list and enjoy every single step along this 6.4 mile trek to the incomparable Wave.
And……. it was freakin’ incredible!!!!!
****Update 4/22 – the lottery has now gone all online – best of luck as it is soooooo worth it****