Hiking: It's Like Walking, Only It Sucks More

Trip Start Jun 11, 2005
Trip End Sep 01, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I went to Phoenix to visit my brother Derek and we decided we should take a few days and head over to the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever been there and it's only a three hour drive from his place. And it's one of the wonders of the natural world! I love nature. I love wondrous things. And I especially enjoy a great photo opportunity. So we were off.

We drove up Monday afternoon and headed to the South Rim. It's amazing. You drive into Grand Canyon National Park, make your way through some pretty nondescript forest, park your car, take eight steps, and you're standing on the edge of an abyss that seems to reach up and try to pull you in by the ankles. Your feet turn to lead in order to keep you firmly rooted to the earth as you try feebly to wrap your mind around the sight before you. The sheer vastness you're presented with forces you to try to blink away the illusion, only to find that the reality of it is impossible to escape. It is like nothing you've ever seen before, or will ever see again. Nothing will ever equal that first glimpse, will ever make you swallow half a breath in shock. Nothing can touch that moment. Even if you make your way back to this place one day - while you may gaze in wonder - you will still feel a pang of disappointment as it fails to duplicate the joy and astonishment that swelled in your heart the first time your eyes and senses met this place.

Or maybe that's just me.

The first day we just took some pictures and walked around the rim a bit. It's a gorgeous place to watch a sunset.

The next morning we woke up early, had a quick breakfast, and hit the trail. One of Derek's friends had suggested this particular hike, saying that it was difficult but rewarding. Derek and I both fancy ourselves athletes and for some reason think we're both 21 and can conquer any such feet with the greatest of ease. This was not the case.

Actually, we both knew it would be tough, but I think we were still a bit shocked at how grueling the hike back up was. The 6 miles down wasn't too bad. The view from the plateau was amazing. It was a gorgeous day. But the 6 mile hike, climbing back up the 4000 feet we had descended, was arduous to say the least. Painful. Miserable. Made me want to hurl myself off a cliff just so it would be over. Those are a little closer.

But once we made it back to the top, we were both glad we did it. For one thing, we proved that we were both up to the challenge. Second, it meant we would never have to do it again. And it was a good brotherly, bonding experience. When we're both old and useless, sitting on a porch somewhere, with Derek's abnormally young and attractive wife bringing us drinks and painkillers, we can reminisce and tell all who will listen how we conquered the canyon.
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