The Grand Canyon

A friend of mine mentioned camping, or rather glamping, at the Grand Canyon earlier today, and, well, she probably thought I was joking, but I don’t have anything else to write about tonight, so thanks to her, the Grand Canyon is my topic for the day.

I’m hardpressed to think of anyone who’s grown up in this state of California at least who hasn’t taken *that* trip to this majestic wonder. It’s gorgeous, truly. I’ve been there four times now, at least that I can remember.

One trip in particular came to mind, a trip I took with a roommate, just the two of us. I can’t recall exactly what year it was, but I’m thinking it had to be either 1988 or 1989. I’m leaning toward ’89. We remained friends for a long time after that, although I lost touch with her by the late ’90s, our lives having drifted apart as we went on our separate paths.

It was an epic road trip, and I have the best memories of that time. She and I decided it would be fun to rent a car and travel from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, over to Utah and Zion National Park, and then up to Boise and back home through Nevada.

And it was fun.

And adventurous.

The things I remember most about this road trip are how much we fought (a lot!) and how much we laughed (also a lot!) and how much our hearts raced (too much!).

The heart racing came from the breathtaking views, the long hikes, and a few hair-raising moments.

The setting, North Rim, Grand Canyon. Beautiful is inadequate. It’s late evening and we get to the cabins we had rented. A young man, maybe a few years older than us, shows us to our cabin and hands us the key.

He strikes up a conversation with us and then suggests we meet him and his friend later that night so they can take us to this remote lookout spot off the tourist maps for the best views of the canyon. He appeared to be having a very difficult time accepting “no” for an answer despite our repeated use of the word. He even goes so far as to point out that he has a master key to all the cabins, just casually dropping that information.

This was the first of several sleepless nights on our road trip. We rammed a chair back up under the doorknob (as a side note, I have a vague recollection I learned that from Trixie Belden, but now I’m not so sure), decided that wasn’t sturdy enough, and shoved every piece of furniture that wasn’t nailed down against the door. We also put a bunch of things under the window that would break or make noise should he come in that way.

Come morning, we high-tail it out of the park and head to Zion a couple of days early. We nearly hit a deer on the way out. Not a good omen. Thankfully, we did not hit the deer, but we left some telltale tire tread marks on the asphalt behind us.

Despite the fight over listening to the news, driving the rental on gravel roads with 5% or more grades, and disagreements over what to eat, the trip went on successfully. Until we got to Twin Falls.

We set up our tent quickly (most of the trip was camping, with just a couple of exceptions here and there, including the North Rim). I’m not sure what was happening that evening, what we might have stumbled upon, but it was late, we were tired, and the only place open where we could get something to eat was a bar. A biker bar, no less.

But we were twenty and twenty-something and full of ourselves, and, most important, starving.

It was not the friendliest place, and the stares we got, the leers, the jeers … we decided to skip eating and headed back to our campground, where we stayed up all night because we had such a bad feeling about the whole place. Like crazy cult vibe feelings.

The next morning at the crack of dawn, we hightailed it out of there and headed straight home. I remember a particularly icy patch of road we hit in Nevada, the car fishtailing, but we were fine.

But I also remember as we drove past Sacramento, nearly home, I looked up in the sky.

I saw a full circle double rainbow/halo around the sun. It was the most stunning, most inspiring, most breathtaking thing I have ever seen.

May your life be filled with rainbows and many other beautiful things. Love you all!

2 Responses

  1. That is AMAZING. I love this story so much!

    I also have a Grand Canyon story, but it is pretty much the opposite of awesome. But it makes for excellent storytelling. Even years later. And I can’t say I’m sorry I went. Seeing the sun rise over the Grand Canyon is something I’ll never forget.

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