Three years ago I hiked what is called the ‘Rim to Rim’. We started off at an early hour around 5:30 am from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was still dark out and we started with long pants and jackets on along with our headlamp lights strapped to our heads. You start at 8200 feet and descend seven and a half miles of switchback trail to the northern base of the Canyon at approximately 2300 feet. A more moderate descent across the canyon for almost nine miles gets us to the Colorado River and the base of a more grueling uphill climb out. After eleven hours and almost 26 miles under our belts we emerged atop the South Rim after climbing eight miles up from the base of the Canyon at the Colorado River. It was a wonderful and challenging hike and one I will long remember.
Later this month I will be back into the Grand Canyon. This time we will be staying overnight at the base of the Canyon at a beautiful spot called Phantom Ranch. This time around I want to really experience the grandeur of the Canyon. The last trip was a grand test of my endurance as we charged into the Canyon and marched the 26 miles in and out in one day. On this trip I look forward to a challenging hike down into the Canyon and even more challenging uphill climb out the next day. And, I look most forward to just ‘being’ in the experience of this beautiful place without the rush of getting in and getting out in one day.
The Grand Canyon is a majestic place and the last trip left me unfulfilled as we rushed through the experience in order to accomplish our goal of the one day ‘Rim to Rim’ challenge. I was proud of the accomplishment and also left with a desire to go back and truly experience what I missed through the rush of achieving a goal.
I often wonder what true experiences are missed when we rush through life to the beat of setting and meeting challenging goals. Much of my life also centered around playing individual and team sports that were measured by win/loss statistics with a clear end result of scoring more than the opponent within a defined period of time. And I would say that I still get the rush of a great challenge achieved. As I age I seem to find greater wisdom and understanding as I choose to just experience life as it unfolds in front of me, particularly as I get to experience this life with those I love and cherish. I fully expect to leave the Grand Canyon this time with more joy of just having been there and experiencing it as it is.