In just over a month, I will be packing up my things and heading out to see the Grand Canyon for the first time in the 48 years I’ve lived on earth. I’m quite excited as my friend, Cindy and I plan to join a group of about 8 others who have also signed up to have REI Adventures lead us through this amazing backcountry. Apparently, it is one of their most difficult backcountry getaways and, to be sure we have a good trip, they have asked a lot of questions about our preparation and prior backpacking adventures. As you might guess, I’ve done a lot of hiking over the past few months to get ready to take on this adventure and have had a lot of fun in the process.
One of my adventures was over this past weekend. TheMAN, YaYa, and I took on Mount Manuel Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The park staff told us about it when we asked about a 5-6 mile hike in the park. She told us that Andrew Molera had a nice 6 miler but that Pfeiffer had this trail which was about 8 miles long. We decided to go for it – with plans to turn back early unless we can’t stop ourselves from going the distance.
The trail was challenging and beautiful. However there were segments where the trail appeared to have fallen off the side of the mountain. The soil was loose with little tread in many sections, as is noted in this forum I found later. Thankfully YaYa slowed considerably after hitting these sections as he was worried about me safely passing. Meanwhile, worried about him, I jokingly said “I don’t know how I’m going to let this boy go off to college in 3 ½ years; I can hardly bare it when he is out of my sight.”
We all made it safely down the hill. However in one section, where a fall would not have been too bad, the ground came out from under me. My leg slid out leaving the rest of me hanging onto the loose soil remaining on the trail. YaYa stood just far enough behind me to see but not be readily available to help. TheMAN came and pulled me up with my trekking pole.
Afterwards, I got to thinking what if something were to happen while I was in the Grand Canyon. What would become of my YaYa? Who would take care of him? I have people named in my legal documentation but I’m not all that sure these folks would be able to manage his continuing at his current high school (even with tuition paid). None of those I named seven years ago live close enough to make this happen.
Of course, I am planning to make it back safely but so were the two men who died in the Grand Canyon this past weekend. We make preparations but, as you know, there are no guarantees in life. I continue to do what I can to increase the odds of insuring my son’s have a parent to do the things that parents-of-grown-children do like spoil their children. I train hard, hoping to prevent bonking, and I put all the safety measures I can in place as well. And I live my life as fully as I can — saying “I love you” often to YaYa, BoBo, DD, theMAN, and the rest of my family. I do this, not because I am afraid that I won’t make it back, but because I want them to know it now (while I am with them).
First, I have never been to the grand canyon. I think that trip sound wonderful.
You’ll be with experienced hikers, but I understand your fears.
Also, my youngest leaves for college this fall. I can’t even tell you the range of emotions I am having. There are days I look forward to the freedom. Then, there are times that I think about how much I am going to miss our breakfasts together.
The fear comes but the story that plays out in my head is not reality. It’s just that: a story. I’m very excited and feel quite confident that my tour guides will lead us safely.
I am constantly amazed at how fast these “kids” grow up. Like you, I am aware of many times where I long to not have to forgo an activity because of my motherly responsibilities. Yet, I *know* that this time is precious and that I am so very blessed that he has yet to leave me empty-nested. I love him so much.