November 22, 2009

The Granddaddy- Part 2

“There was a freshness and breeziness, too, and an exhilarating sense of emancipation from all sorts of cares and responsibilities, that almost made us feel that the years we had spent in the close, hot city, toiling and slaving, had been wasted and thrown away.”  -Mark Twain, Roughing It

Saturday, Day 1- 27 miles, South Kaibab, North Kaibab, Ken Patrick

I awoke at exactly 5:12am. I wanted desperately to stay in bed because I was very tired from a long work week and the scramble to tie up all the loose ends with packing and seemingly meaningless life obligations. I eventually peeled my self from beneath the covers, threw them in the back of the truck, and within minutes departed my campsite on a Forest Road outside of Tusyan (which is a great, free place to camp when visiting the Grand Canyon). I passed through the park entrance and arrived at the backcountry visitor center at 5:45 AM leaving me 15 minutes to pack before the Hiker Express Shuttle came. The Hiker Express Shuttle was jammed packed even at 6am. It was ridiculous and I was eager to be released from the crowd. As soon as the shuttle came to a stop at the South Kaibab Trailhead, I bolted down into the canyon.

There were tons of people on the South Kaibab and North Kaibab. I wasn’t upset; instead I talked to several people because I knew in the next 5-6 days I would see few. Most people were astonished with my trip and I could sense jealously, a disappointment of sorts. I could hear it in their voices: the eagerness to be free, to explore such a beautiful wonder, and to incorporate some risk and adventure into their lives. I received so many questions, excuses rather, such as: Are you are going alone? Do you have a Tent? What about the animals? What if you break an ankle? Water? Food? Cold? This? That? I asked one of the river runners that I met about the risk of rafting down the Colorado River for 3 weeks: “The most dangerous part of our trip is the drive here.” I tend to agree. In my limited life experience I have found that most accidents happen during typical day to day events like driving to the grocery store or walking down the street or sitting in class. You just never know. Anything can happen at any moment. Should I try to be “safe” and never do anything remotely dangerous or should I cherish the moments I have to do something I love? The soldiers who were killed a few weeks ago at Fort Hood were not doing anything out of the ordinary the day they were killed. Sadly, they will not have a chance to do the things they love ever again. They won’t be able to hug their spouses or children. They won’t be able to go on a run in the park. They won’t be able to play football with friends. They won’t be able to travel to Europe or New York City or the Grand Canyon. So I hope to cherish the things I can do today because, and I know its cliché, but they literally might not be there tomorrow. I don’t want to be the person who says, “You don’t realize what you had until it’s gone.” I want to enjoy what I have now and be thankful for it.  Lets go hiking now...

Bighorn Sheep on the South Kaibab

Heading UP-->Starting the North Kaibab Trail

If it isn't clear to you by now, Ribbon Falls was the Highlight of Day 1

Life on the Ken Patrick Trail- Wrapping up a long day numero uno

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