Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Final Leg of the Journey

We begin early, but wake up late, ugh! But we make it. Patrick and I begin our last leg and he hesitates near the silver bridge towards the Bright Angel Trail, offering me a chance to change my mind, and no I don't. Glad I didn't.

Early into the hike up we encounter rain, then it turns to hail, and then it becomes intermitten weather as we call it here in the West. I can't explain how I felt so tremedously thrilled to be walking out; I felt strong and being a part of the landscape was zoetic (yes I found this word and it connected with it's meaning). As we approached the first stop Sarah pointed out two birds flying up in the sky; and then we heard them. Hawks,and boy did their sound bring goosepimples on my arms, they were exquisite.

Patrick and I at lunch, I was chewing that's why I'm not smiling. Patrick is well, Patrick. But I think it was because we were coming up to the Red and Whites - a series,a LONG series of switchbacks that takes us quite upwards through a red and white section of layers in the rocks.

In the meantime, we're glad we didn't go up the Bright Angel Trail as it was pummelled more then we were by the snow. Still it was beautiful as the canyon always is.

Sarah stayed a head of us with my camera to get this shot, shows a bit of how far we came and yet to go. Once we got past O'Neill butte (which is at the top of the red and whites that is when we seperated. She told me later how impressed with how well I stayed motivated as I was still feeling the energy of spirit flowing so freely at Skeleton Point and we were just a little over half way out. If you look very closely I'm the one in the white t-shirt and Patrick is in the dark jacket.

This was when we relaxed a bit at Skeleton Point. I liked this composition so much I tweaked it.

Later on Patrick pointed out two condors flying over the canyon, we both had to stop and just watch. The last section was by far the most difficult as it usually is. I will say there were a lot of times I thought about stopping for a while and when I had those thoughts a heavy gust of wind would push at my back encouraging me to continue forward. At another point we did have to stop to admire a rainbow in the canyon. By that time my camera was buried deep in my pack and Patrick had his in the side pocket of his pants so he took his out and caught the photo.

In the chimney section I felt a bit nervous as the snow was blowing upwards into my right ear. I glanced to the sides of me and got a bit more nervous as the winds were really picking up and there was an 800 foot drop on one side and 1200 on the other. I covered my ears with my hat, dropped my focus to my feet and made it one step at a time. I believe this is the ONLY time I have been grateful for being the 'woman of substance' that I am as most people would've been swept away into the winds.

At the edge of Ooo Ahh Point (good reason for the name) I came upon a raven talking to me as I approached. Of course I didn't comprehend on one level but I completely understood on yet another level, as the raven made the sounds over and over. I stopped to take several drinks and breaths,and finally looked over at the raven and said "I know, I will keep going." The raven stopped making the sounds; looked at me intensely then flew off.

At this point - 3/4 of a mile from the top - both Patrick and I were stopping after 10 steps to breathe, snack and drink. His room mate met us up at the trailhead (Sarah had called her when she got out) and she took us to McDonalds to celebrate!!! We deserved it, the last mile was simply the hardest mile I have EVER done; and I still don't think I want to do it again, but then again who knows?

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