It was the night before our big adventure. There we were, sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon, taking in the vastness of the canyon itself. I had examined our itinerary against the map many times and still could not wrap my head around how much of this huge expanse we were to explore — especially now. It was the first time in the 48 years of my life I’d set eyes on it and I was impressed. Scared even.
On Day 1 we were to trek down to the bottom of the canyon. If that wasn’t enough, the weather prediction was for rain and snow showers! I’d brought along everything I could think of that could keep me warm in cold temperature but still wasn’t sure it would be enough. I’m a wimp when it comes to cold. California born and raised, and spoiled rotten by our nearly always warm weather.
Then there was food. Our information said they would provide us with breakfast and dinner but how much food would be provided was not known. Would it be a 300 calorie allotment? Or more? I wanted to be sure my lunches and snacks would supplement the provided meals adequately.
There were too many unknowns and my pack was already getting heavy. We would be given some of the group gear and food to carry. The question was: How much?
The participants and leaders met in the market parking lot where our load was inspected and trimmed down to 35 pounds or less. Much of what I had brought with me was left behind. Then, me and 10 other hikers were off for our grand adventure.
I hoped and prayed I’d be warm, have adequate nutrition, and was trained well enough to pull me through the trek’s entirety without incident.
We were met with incredible views as we made our descent — stopping along the way to catch our breath, collect our thoughts, and learn about the history of the canyon.
Before nightfall, we had made our way to the bottom. Our campsite for the evening was beside the river and under a blanket of brilliant stars. It was heavenly.
Each morning, for the next couple of days, we packed up and resumed our trek — traversing and ascending for 6+ miles each day. Each day my senses were overwhelmed by the expanse and beauty of the canyon. And my trekking companions matched this beauty with a beauty of their own. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel through the canyon with.
From blazing heat to blistering cold rain and wind, each day greeted us a little differently. We saw scorpions, snakes, lizards, birds, and a wide array of wildflowers and cacti — each blending in to the environment yet standing out for its own uniqueness in the expansive surroundings.
Then… way too soon, the time had come to emerge from the canyon. It was far from an easy task both physically and emotionally. I wanted to stay another few days yet I longed for a hot shower and comb. I longed to see my son, YaYa again and share the details of my adventure he’d missed with him.
At times during the brutally tough ascent, I felt as if my body was refusing to do the work — like it didn’t want to leave. Of course the slippery cobblestones and steep steps (which were often higher than my knees) didn’t make it any easier.
Eventually, I did emerge… tired but healthy, happy, and inspired.