Getting Down in the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of the 10 natural wonders of the world, and just one of those places that you need to spend a bit of time really looking at to understand how EPIC it actually is. Standing at the top and looking down feels a bit surreal because it's just so vast it's hard to really understand what you're seeing. Essentially, *spoiler alert* you're looking at a 1 mile deep, 6 million year old and 277-mile long crater. Holy fiddlesticks. So what better way to really get to grips with it... than WALK ON DOWN!
The beginning of the trail was terrifying for me. I'm really not great with heights and there's a mile deep drop right next to the path. And then the path itself goes straight downhill fast and is covered in slippy shingles. I was wearing Nike running shoes with little grip on them and slipped every few steps, and soon my feet (and hands and everything else) started shaking, and all I could think of was NOT FALLING/OMG I'M FALLING, which made the whole slipping thing worse. So I did the only thing any rational human being would do in this situation. I recited each track from the first Backstreet Boys album in my head. The profound poetry that is "Everybody groove to the music, everybody JAAAYYYMMMM" did its magic, I calmed down and zoned into my steps, got into a happier headspace, and kept on blazing down the trail. Hey, whatever works.
By Quit Playin' [sic] Games with my Heart we'd gone past the first view point, and after an hour walking we'd reached Skeleton Point. It was 7am and there were two hikers there before us, so our small group had the whole view ourselves. The view from there is amazing, it's blue and green and so different from the top which is all reds and purples... and we still weren't even at the bloody bottom! Walking into a view rather than just gawking at it from a distance really makes you appreciate the scale of the thing you're looking at, and how incredibly humbling this big ol' crater is. My expert rating: WORTH IT.
The walk back up was killer. I drank the rest of the 5.5L of water (yuh-huh) I'd packed, including one fruit punch Gatorade in a tiny shady spot, which was one of *the* tastiest beverages I've had in my life. (Seriously, fruit punch Gatorade. Look it up.) Walking up the last section alone my earlier terror was turned upside down into steep ascent. I love the physicality of hiking, how exhausting it can be and being in potentially dangerous situations (people actually die hiking in the Grand Canyon, most often pretty fit people underestimating how much food and water they need to bring), and this was one of the most strenuous hours I've spent hiking... but hells bells it was fun. Some badass part of me took over and I started a race with myself and gunned it back up, getting there at 9.40am feeling like a beast. Needless to say, I GOT DOWN (on the floor) once I reached the top.