Return to the canyon . . . .

4 Sep

Back on the bus, waking up at the Grand Canyon for sunrise.. After pitching our tents, Mitch, Angela, Marie and I set out for our evening 7 mile hike down into the canyon.  Or, as Mitch put it, ” a very big hole in the ground”.  As night fell around us, we felt the mountain wrapping itself around us and enfolding us in its warmth.  The heat rising from the rocks made it a hot and sometimes difficult trek in the dark, and as if we were decending into hell itself.  Eventually we crossed the Black Bridge, refreshed ourselves in Black Angel Creek and on to Bright Angel camping – a rudimentary camp site where we ate our meal, stretched out on the ground (apart from Marie, who slept on the table!)….. And fell soundly asleep.  Angela, unfortunately, being disturbed both by bugs (scorpions, even, maybe) and my snoring (the discomfort leading me to sleep on my back)

Marie, Mitch, Vanessa and Tim… before the adventure!

A reminder to think twice before setting off into the canyon

I worry about these two..

Bright Angel camp site…. consumption of large amounts of tinned tuna before total collapse…. conversation minimal…

I’ve rafted down the canyon before, which was an incredibly peaceful, relaxing, transforming experience…. this was punishing, exhausting – and still transforming.

Waking at 6 (it would have been 5, but Angela didn’t notice the alarm) – and began the long, slow 11 mile trek out of the canyon.  Angela’s leg was suffering from the previous night’s walk, and so Mitch and I mostly Mitch, I just carried the pink sleeping mat, doing nothing for my machismo) carried her stuff out of the canyon for her.

You might say that we battled the Canyon and won… but, always, the Canyon wins.  I’ve seen it from the bottom, rafting through in tranquillity and peace.  I’ve seen it from the trail, hiking through the heat.  Each time it has left me moved, awed, and transformed.  And those who rock up at the rim of the Canyon and simply look down at its beauty and majesty – well, they have seen, but can never truly know.

A night camping out by the canyon was marred only by rainfall halfway through the night – although if they hadn’t woken me I would never have noticed…. So I rose early to walk through the woods and think…. Before, finally, clearing the camp site and making our way out of the Canyon.

A brief stop for milkshakes and burgers on Route 66 – where the new road has bypassed the old, leaving the population reliant on nostalgia rather than travellers.

And,finally, rocking up in Vegas for a final dinner with some amazing people, friends like Mitch, Katherine and Jay, like Vanessa, and many others that made this trip special.  Incredible sights, wonderful views, amazing spiritual experiences and insights, fabulous friends… and just a dash of romance.

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