Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Few Words on Hiking the Grand Canyon

By Bianca Bauch, An Arizona River Runner's Guide

I have hiked down to the Colorado River from the rim some fifty times. Which is not to brag, it's not any spectacular feat, it's just time in the Grand Canyon which is always a blessing. I have hiked out of Grand Canyon enough to notice a trend in myself, a certain anxiety that comes with the inevitable butt kicking effect of those last thousand vertical feet. No matter the time of year, (usually fit in the summer and sloppy in the winter), it is always an effort. A glorious, one step after the other, effort. I call them "zen steps" where I meditate, let each step just flow like water and my mind float somewhere above. I take easy breaths, sip water and I swear my heart beat slows to the rhythm of each footfall. Sometimes I partially close my eyes and breathe deep, still walking. And it never fails, as the rim is within a few more steps a bittersweet wave floods my heart. I never feel ready to walk back into the rim world. I start planning the next trip to the Canyon. I feel a peace that comes with good hard exercise. I wonder what would happen if I just turned around and went back home. I think about steak and potatoes. And I always turn back to the vastness of our glorious Canyon, while tourists excitably push around to get their memories, and I give thanks and blessings for being humbled once again.

Note: Join ARR this Spring with their new Grand Canyon Rafting – Spring 2010 - “Hikers Special”.