“Ok folks, you’re going to want to hold on tight. This one is a big one. It’s called House Rock and today it’s looking like a 6,” our guide, Shavonne, bellowed from the rear of the boat.
Christie and I immediately glanced at each other in excitement as our eyes communicated that we migrate to sit in the front of the boat. The ‘bath tub’ is the wettest and, arguably, the best seat in the house. It was a very hot and long first day full of built up anticipation. Up until this point, it still had not hit me that we were in the grandest of all canyons.
As we settled into our seats, hands tightly grasping the rope strap behind us, my gaze made its way to the rapid as we started to feel the sway of the boat moving up and down over small surfs.
“Oh, this is nothing,” I thought as we lapped over waves, tiny splashes brushing up over the side offering a cool reprieve on our skin. It was then I spotted a huge rolling current in the distance. My eyes widened at the tremendous pull of water heading towards this massive valley which appeared to be sucking us in faster and faster.
Before I could fully let out a scream, a large brick of water pummeled my body, muting all sounds, hurling the sombrero off my head and taking my sunglasses with it. My ears gushed with the loud sound of gurgling pressure as if a fire hose had been turned full blast and directly pointed at my face. In that instant, the wind was knocked out of me, causing my lungs to gasp desperately for air. “Oh my G-,” was all I could sputter before another wave came crashing over, lifting my body fully off the seat with only small fingers gripping for dear life.
It was then it had finally hit me…I was in the Grand Canyon.
That evening, after settling in for dinner, I retreated to my campsite only to stumble upon a family of big horn sheep. The Mama sheep and I locked eyes as I stood frozen in awe. How regal and strong each sheep looked as they stood poised against a canyon ledge, only five yards away. Up until then, I had never been so up close to such a majestic creature.
Little did I know, each day would grow grander than the last. From reviving my soul under the healing showers of waterfalls to finding peace exploring ancestral ruins, to building comradery amongst frisbee toss on soft beach sand. As each day unfolded, I discovered new parts of myself. The layers were peeling away as I became more sensitive and vulnerable. Despite the taste of excitement rising in the brisk dawn air, I found solitude sitting in silence, admiring the golden orange hues illuminating the canyon walls. Man, cowboy coffee never tasted so good.
By day four, I had acclimated to the ways of the Canyon. Forgoing all sense of day and time, releasing impulse of control, and being disconnected from electronics, I finally felt I could breathe. I felt the welcoming embrace of every small breeze hug my entire being, the pulse of the river flow through my veins and granite limestone walls vibrate with overwhelming love. In that instant, I nearly wept tears of gratitude. I had connected to the rhythm of nature and only now could truly embrace the vibrancy of life surrounding me.
The Canyon whispered, “welcome home.”
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