Monday, July 7, 2008

Grand Canyon

After re-visiting Colorado we headed southwest to the... Grand Canyon! I still can't believe I've seen it now... it's always been something I've wanted to see and now I have. Although, of course, half a day isn't really enough time to see it, and we're already planning our trip back. I'm hoping to take the mule trip someday.

Or at least take a slightly longer walk! We set out on a short jaunt, but were intimidated into turning around after 40 minutes by the posters describing the 24-year-old Boston medical student and marathon runner who died after setting out for a hike unpreparedly AND by the people coming back from hikes who kept telling us we didn't know "steep" was! And they were right. Not to mention the heat! Even though we began walking at 4pm, our two bottles of water emptied quickly, and it certainly didn't feel much cooler than it did during the middle of the day!


Stargazer said...

A wise decision my Michael and Sarah. Wise indeed.

My Johnny & I hiked down the Grand Canyon on our honeymoon in 1983. He was 35 years old then and I was 42. I didn't want him to think that he had married an old lady, so I bravely agreed to be an adventurer.

My idea of roughing it is slow room service, but I had honeymoon fever and I was willing to say yes to anything on my sweetheart's list of fun. (I still am 25 years later.)

Anyway before we began, John went to get some "supplies" and suggested that I go do the same. We agreed to meet at our starting point in 45 minutes.

I had no idea what to bring on a hike down the Canyon. I knew enough to know that my flip flops were not fit for hiking, so I bought a pair of cute little white Ked sneakers. Yes, they were fashionable enough, if I didn't wear socks.

Thinking it might get a little chilly I wrapped my zip-up-the-front hoodie around my waist, placed my lipstick and a small comb in my pocket (I wanted to look good on our trek.), checked my reflection in the mirror, sprayed my perfume all over me, grabbed a little green bottle of Coke to drink in case of thirst and set off to meet my baby.

There he was bent at the waist, pressing his body against a tree, switching legs and counting. I asked him what on earth he was doing. He replied, "I'm stretching my muscles." I think he knew the names of his muscles, but I can't remember what he called them. I was impressed with his macho.

He was now wearing sneakers made for hiking. He also had on thick socks up to his knees and on his back he was carrying a pack full of tissues, water, sun block, sun glasses, bug spray, band aids and God knows what all.

Though with stretching, he took a long look at me, shook his head, laughed and said he didn't think my shoes, outfit and supplies would do.

I assured him that I was a Cherokee girl from Bisbee, Arizona, a town over 5280 feet high, and that I was an experienced hill and mountain climber who didn't need an amateur tenderfoot's equipment to walk down a Canyon, grand or otherwise.

We took off. It was fun. I was jolly. I ignored signs telling me it would take 9 hours to descend and ascend this National Wonder. We sang. We kissed. We talked. I applied and reapplied my lipstick, finished off my soda and thought how grand it was that I was now an outdoor girl.

We made it down to the half way mark. There was a camp site with tables. John suggested we rest a half hour and that we start back up. I said, "No, no, let's go all the way down."

Experienced guides resting with their mule riders told us that was not a good idea. They said that there was no place for us to stay at the bottom and that we would be in the dark trying to climb back up adding that it would take a very, very, very long time to make it back to the top.

John agreed. We would rest and then go back up.

It felt good stretched out on one of the picnic tables. I closed my eyes and just let the sun warm my face. John was stretching again.

"Time to beam up." He said.

I jumped off the table, smiled and replied, "Aye, aye, Captain."

Oooooh, going down was so much easier. Going down wasn't painful. Going down, I could breath. Going down, I could actually talk and eat and smile.

Did I mention we smoked then? What insanity!

I don't know how John was able to talk me up the Canyon. He did though.

I couldn't say a word. It would have taken what little air and energy I had and I needed every ounce just to move one foot in front of the other.

John would walk me 5 minutes and rest me 5 minutes. He serenaded me with songs from Man of La Mancha and promised me a night at the top I wouldn't forget. Thank God for his canteen of water.

Five hours later we made it. We dined on steak, as promised. We drank cold beers, as promised. We went to our room, as promised.

John's promises took a detour.

He asked me before he gave me my head to toe massage, if I would just rub his calves a little and his lower back. "Of course," said I.

Five minutes into my massaging his back, he was sound asleep. I thought, "Poor boy. He's so worn out. I'll let him sleep a while."

What a surprise! I felt great, just great.

I decided to take a bath. Ooooooh that felt heavenly. I turned on TV. Johnny Carson was on. I loved Johnny.

I stayed up. My Johnny slept.

I was not tired. I watched more late night TV and finally fell asleep around 2:OOam.

I heard ringing. Loud ringing. John jumped out of bed. "Get up, get up," he chirped. "We have to see the sun rise over the Canyon."

"We do?" I asked.

"Yes, oh yes. Hurry up sleepyhead. It's 5o'clock."

I too jumped out of bed.

That would be the last jumping or real movement of my legs I would do for three days. I could not even lift my feet. Every muscle, whatever their names, was frozen.

I could waddle. That was all.

i couldn't step up on a curb. I required flatlands. I couldn't bend my knees to sit, so John found a way to "fold" me into the car and "unfold" me to get out of the car.

Time heals, as they say, as do promises fulfilled made on the way up a canyon.

I take it back. Take that hike down the Canyon. Ask John what to bring.

Anonymous said...

Here I was thinking I knew everything there was to know about everyone who has written here. I would be the guy in the helicopter, to be sure...!