24Oct2019

“Okay, God, I Get It: It IS a GRAND Canyon!”

Hiking the Grand CanyonMy roommate, Jenna, and I view nature in two forms. First, there is “nature” which consists of flowers organized in dainty rows, zephyrs blowing through oak leaves and air conditioned buildings within reach. Then, there is “THE nature”; cruel and biting, layered in sweat, and bears attacking humbly constructed tents. So when we were required go hiking the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA for a science course, it was easy to figure out which nature we would encounter.

Journey to the Edge of the Earth: The Grand Canyon

I packed lots of snacks for the train ride there; and, because I didn’t have a suitcase, I simply stuffed all of my clothes into an art portfolio. Jenna packed mostly hair products and repeatedly exclaimed about the professor’s words to bring one towel, “One towel?! One towel? My body is going to cringe into itself and disappear.” I imagined how exhausted I’d be after nine days as we headed for the train station in Fort Madison.

The train kept jerking and shaking and my sleep was rough. Each time I woke up, we were in a different city and the time had changed. The window was like a fascinating film with eternally changing locations. I was in awe of the rolling plains and mountains. I had never seen a mountain with my own eyes. It took 36 hours to get to Arizona and we did several activities before reaching the Grand Canyon. We visited Walnut Canyon, the Meteor Crater and Lowell Observatory; there, I viewed Saturn through a monstrous telescope. After hiking through several other locations, I didn’t think I would be able to handle hiking the Grand Canyon.

Hiking the Grand Canyon: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

As I nearly toppled into yet another mule poop cake, I concluded that people did not so much fall off of the Canyon, but probably jumped. We only had to reach the three mile mark and climb back up again.

I attempted to catch up with Jenna, who was wearing a leg brace due to her bad knee. Each step required me to jump down onto the next one, causing layers of dust to shoot up my nose. I looked at the horizon and saw how truly vast the Grand Canyon is. Layers upon layers of rock, the colors of a sunset encased within them. I felt like a mere doll in comparison. I had to stand against the wall to let the mules pass, though I couldn’t help but throw envious glances at the riders.

Grand Surprises!

After three hours of slipping and pausing for breath, we finally reached the 3 mark rest stop. Nobody spoke much, but to speak was too much effort. I couldn’t wait to climb back up and sit, satisfied, in an air conditioned space. It was then that somebody suggested the idea to continue and head down towards the Bright Angel Lodge.

“I’m not going,” I said, almost instinctively.

“Oh come on, Kiarra,” one class mate said, “It’s only a mile down and what if you don’t come to the Grand Canyon again?”

I grimaced.

“This is a once in a lifetime chance- hiking the Grand Canyon!” another chirped, “You should do it.”

Frowning, I looked at each of them, “I’ve made up my mind. I am NOT going.”

“I should’ve listened to myself”, I mumbled in my thoughts as I was on mile two, down to Bright Angel Lodge. More mule droppings, more dust, but worst of all, more miles. I looked in every direction, waiting for some type of desert Sasquatch to snatch me up for dinner. My body started doing things it had never done before: sunburn. I couldn’t talk because my lips were now crusted, although I tried to soften them with water. I made small cries out of annoyance, exhaustion, and hopelessness. “Liars”, I cursed, “One mile my foot! More like six!”

When we finally reached it, the Bright Angel Lodge seemed like the equivalent of some celestial city, though it was just made out of wood. I almost became teary-eyed with joy and drank all of the water that I could.

Paradise was cut short at the realization that I had to hike back up.

Grand Achievement

I never lifted my eyes on the way back; I simply stared in one direction as my legs robotic-ally climbed each dirt-ridden stair. I peeked down to see how far I had progressed and tried to brighten my mood by singing to myself and talking on my cell phone (which, surprisingly, had excellent service in the canyon). Yet each time I thought I was doing extremely well, I would look up and see the bestial mountains towering over my small existence. I felt alone; and, for the first time in my life, I thought I was going to die. I concocted strange plans of rolling off the side and praying that someone with a mule would carry me up. But my feet didn’t listen and kept walking, so I decided to stick with it as well. My fist shook in the air and I screamed with wonder and slight anger, “Okay, God, I GET it! It’s a GRAND canyon!”

18 miles and hours later of hiking the Grand Canyon, I reached the top. But instead of immediately heading somewhere to cool off, I turned around and stared: the colors of the Canyon melted into one another and the sun hovered over the scenery.

My shoes were caked with dirt and my knees were quivering with exhaustion. Yet still my mind said, “I can’t wait to return again someday.”

Author: Kiarra Smith

Edited by: CampTrip.com

About the Author

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Discussion

3 responses to "“Okay, God, I Get It: It IS a GRAND Canyon!”"

  • Kiarra Lynn Smith says:

    I just came to the site and saw my story. I’m kind of shocked! Hahahahahaha!

  • Jenna says:

    Hey! The only things I brought for my hair were shampoo/conditioner and my hairspray! The rest was just make-up, and other toiletries- I NEEDED them.
    (: Very nicely written though.

  • Kiarra Lynn Smith says:

    Little stalker, commenting after my comment!! lol 😀

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