Left Bright Angel camp at 7 or so this morning but hardly the first to go — hikers were up and leaving from 3 am onward. Not sure why — this would make sense in the summer to avoid the midday heat, but was not at all necessary today.
Setting out into the Canyon feels a bit like launching a small boat onto a big ocean. The scale is just so vast — not human-sized, but planet-sized. Watching the sun fill the Canyon was no less humbling. And climbing up the heavily engineered trail only accentuated the isolation of the gorge – it is unreachable by nature, as inaccessible as a place can be by virtue of its topography.
The climb up was hard of course, but not any kind of hardship. I got to Mather campground around 2, after resisting the temptation to take the shuttle the two miles from the South Kaibab trailhead. I did see quite a few glum teenagers being dragged by their parents along the South Rim trail.
My girls were similarly resentful when I insisted we spend a day at the Canyon on our way back to Colorado from a family gathering in Tucson. They took one look from the South Rim and said “OK, we’ve seen it, let’s go”. They were 14 and 16 at the time and I was causing them to miss out on end of school parties and other very important social developments – essentially ruining their lives. It cheers me to see other parents carrying on this tradition of oppression. I would high-five them but I suspect they would be frightened and appalled to be approached by a filthy and apparently homeless stranger, so I merely make a silent prayer that they be granted the gifts of patience and fortitude in doing what is so obviously right and just. Selah.