Mile 689, Mather Campground

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.

Leaving the Inner Gorge

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.

Looking back at the North Rim

The view from Skeleton Point

Cedar Point

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.