With a work conference in Las Vegas scheduled for mid-October, we decided awhile back to postpone celebrating our tenth anniversary for a few weeks and tacking on a few days of our own to that trip. We flew in to Las Vegas and then drove out to Boulder City last Friday night. The sleepy little town apparently closes up around 10pm, and seems a world away from the the bright lights of the neighboring city. Even sleeping in the next morning put us wide awake at an early hour on Pacific Time, and we headed out of town towards the Grand Canyon. We had to take a longer route there due to road closures for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new bridge over Hoover Dam (more on that tomorrow), but the drive was scenic in that sort of brown, rocky, desert kind of way, and took us through towns named Searchlight and Bullhead City and in and out of Nevada, California and Arizona.
And oh, my, was it worth it.
Looking back at the photos, it all seems so surreal, just as it does when you are standing there. It is so vast, and so beautiful, and so enormous that you can hardly wrap your head around it. And then you walk a while on along the rim and it changes. With every step the view is different, the colors and shadows and chasms shift and you want to keep taking photos but the camera is just a big cumbersome object between you and the view.
And so you get this crazy idea in your head to hike it – not the whole thing of course, because to do so would require equipment and stamina and a touch of insanity, none of which you currently possess. But a good hard three hour hike, with a rating of difficult but doable, and an optimistic attitude.
So down we go.
And after an hour or more of picking your way down steep trails and around pack mules, your partner of ten years climbs out on a rocky perch to capture some photos of the trail as it continues, and you stay back from the edge and will yourself to remain vertical. You ask him to be careful, and to remember the girls we’ve left behind at home, and of course he does, and you do, and you talk of bringing them back to this trail in between the labored breaths of the hike.
Eventually, what goes down must now go up, and you wind your way back up the trail, switching back and forth up the face of the cliff, switching leg muscles as well, and feeling the full affect of the afternoon sun and little shade. And the views continue to change, and the sun goes lower in the sky, and you see tiny dots of color and little backpacks winding their way up to the rim and you know that you’ll be there soon too, and glad that you took the time to see a tiny piece of this grand place with your best friend.