Thursday, September 8, 2011

Experience of a Lifetime

Backpacking South rim to North rim of The Grand Canyon. We were supposed to be eighteen of us on the trip, but dwindled down to fifteen cos of one collar bone fracture and two last minute drop outs. I knew only five of the others; but by the end of the trip got to know the rest too. Over long lazy afternoons, and early morning hikes. The shepherds - always looking out for the straggling hiker. The driven  hikers. The loyal one and the one underestimating his own capabilities. And the one hiker who stayed unfussy through the trip - not her usual style!
Got to know the unrelenting heat of the Canyon and how good it feels to rest in its shades. The pretty little nooks it has hidden away for the hikers who seek them out. The beauty of its vastness. The wild flowers springing in the most unexpected setting. The rivers trickling down over time smoothed rocks. The tranquil deer getting a drink from the stream, that decided to empty its bowels upstream of where we were unwinding in the coolness of the flowing water. The oasis in the dessert - where our thirsty & hot bunch got quenching, chilling & amazingly refreshing lemonade! And chilled out with some Uno, who would've thought!
The unbroken uniformity of the landscape while trudging along only to turn a corner and suddenly feel the cool breeze from the river flowing nearby. Ah the cool waters, how good they felt on the dipped feet. That piece of paradise formed by a piddling little stream of water. The grandest view of the Colorado cutting through the Canyon in the setting rays of the Sun. Chance meetings with strangers and getting to know that quintessential detail about them which somehow stays with you. Nights spent under starry starry skies with streaks shooting across every so often! (I've made a loot of wishes! :) ) The clamorous crickets and incessant buzz of more insects. The daring squirrels, the un-bothered deer. The soaring birds. The crisscrossing switchbacks. The sandy uphills. The sweet support of the trekking poles. The undying solar lamp. The never ending last two miles (so true is the untaught law - weight is directly proportional to time!). The beautiful beautiful sight of the dumpster which heralded civilization!
Best four days.