Two tons of granite, wedged forcefully into a narrow cleft in a deep sandstone slot canyon by the sheer force of nature, manifested in the form of a single flash flood that tossed its solid massive form down the canyon like a gigantic, mighty bowling ball. If you've ever seen the (based on a true story) movie "127 Hours," in which Aron Ralston sawed his own arm off with an off-brand pocket tool, it was a chockstone like this one that did the nasty deed of trapping him there. This one seems to have been resting here for many decades, as the entire canyon above it is filled with sand held in place by its hulking mass like a naturally occurring dam.
I climbed the 10 feet or so to surmount the boulder, before continuing up-canyon to another series of them, far, far larger. This one was about 6 feet in diameter, the others about 10-15 feet. This climb was about 10 feet up, and the next was about 20 feet. I was able to secure both against falls with my climbing harness and some nylon webbing, as I was solo and a fall could have been treacherous in there. After I reached the third level of the canyon, I heard voices above me, coming from a 200 foot vertical chimney chute that descended from the surface. I looked up. "Justin!?!" Aha! It was Greg and Andrew, two guys I hiked with in Joshua Tree National Park a few months back, along with a couple of their friends. We were 3 levels up a remote and semi-technical slot canyon in the middle of nowhere, 2 hours from home, miles from civilization, way out in the desert wash systems. Not exactly a place you'd expect to run into someone you know! What a small world it can be out there!
We continued up canyon, exploring a mining adit (prospect) that had been blasted into the wall of the slot canyon, in the days before wise people had realized the true value of the desert does not lie in mineral extraction. Eventually the slot come to a conglomerate dryfall, which ascended a good 20 feet up to a 4th level. This time there was no way to secure it, and I climbed up to the top chockstone before deciding not to continue, as I would have to descend the loose, steep chute alone to return to my truck, as the others were headed back to the surface and would not have to return this way. So I made my way back down the levels of the slot, retracing my steps, past a dead sidewinder rattlesnake and a tarantula, to the truck. Then it was a simple matter of doing some minor rock crawling and trail running in the truck up a steep and rutted jeep trail back to the paved road and a quick 2-hour drive back to civilization.