I first hiked the Grand Canyon in January of 1981. There was snow on the rim yet 70 degrees at the bottom where we dipped our toes in the Colorado River. The whole experience turned me on my head. To start a hike going a mile down instead of a mile up as in Alaska. To see layers upon layers of rock billions of years old. To find a trail where I couldn’t see how there could possibly be one on that seemingly sheer cliff. But mostly to feel the reverberation of the canyon walls that went right through me and touched soul.
We hiked the New Hance trail that first time and came up the Grandview. I came back a few times to hike down the Hermit Trail (my favorite) and a long day when Steve and I hiked the Kaibab to the river and back. I see on the information packet given us today, that one should never attempt to hike to the river and back in a day. I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time, and it was December, not the heat of summer. We were exhausted after the 12 hours up and down, but in that good way of feeling your body reach for its max. And to be walking through time, feeling minute and yet a part of some wonderful creation. Even feeling the genesis of our race here–the stones could tell that story. “
We have stopped to walk the rim trail a couple of times as we’ve traveled through on our way to elsewhere and we just about didn’t stop this time as we headed north. The crowds are so much greater now 38 years later and so many more restrictions on hiking, it just doesn’t feel the same in some ways. However, we were lured back again. The beauty is too compelling. And we found an off trail along the rim where we saw no one— relishing just the simple hiking on the edge of one of the world’s natural wonders.
It has so many complexions and emanates such mystery in its spires and sheer walls, holding fast to the knowing of ages far past, silent in its power and vastness. And as always, letting me glimpse back in time.
From a book on the Kabbalah, the book of Jewish mystics, there is this compelling thought. “According to legend, being absolute and all, the Holy One was complete but, even so, it held a desire to experience itself as if from outside, and this was the creation came into being. The Divine Plan is therefore for “God to behold God.”
When I’m at the Grand Canyon, it’s not hard to imagine God beholding God.