“Walking is magic … The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps. This is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self. – Paula Cole
On Being the Caboose
Pepper and I set out for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon shortly after dawn, but stopped just south of Page for a quick hike to Horseshoe Bend. It didn’t turn out to be as quick, however, as I remembered it from my younger days.
The hike started with a steep trek up a sandy hill, where you got a good look at the long downhill path ahead of you leading to the edge of a cliff overlooking perhaps the most photographed spot on the Colorado River.
Just coming off a serious episode of heavy-duty back pain – from being stupid and lifting way too many pounds for an old broad my age – I questioned my sanity about going on instead of turning back. It wasn’t the next downhill section that worried me, but the trip back up it.
Pepper, however, was still quite frisky and eager for the hike to continue. As for me, I wanted to prove to myself that I still had some go left in me. As I trudged, step at a time in the quickly warming day, I thought back to 1999 when my 60th birthday present to myself was a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
I had made the same trip earlier in time, when I had paddled through the canyon in a six-person paddle raft, enjoying a wondrous up close, personal connection with the rapids. The second trip down the Colorado through the canyon was made in an oar boat with someone else doing all the hard work, which wasn’t too bad because I got to carefully study the passing scenery.
But then, on a side hike up one canyon, over a ridge and them down a second canyon to meet back up with the rafts, I reached a point where I had to have someone help me over a boulder in the path because I couldn’t manage it on my own. I shed a few tears at that. I wasn’t used to having to be helped on a hiking adventure. Usually I led the way – and was never the caboose.
On this day’s adventure to the Horseshoe Bend viewpoint of the Colorado River, I was following my canine companion Pepper. But at least I was going – and of course the viewpoint was worth the effort. In fact, it was magnificent.
On the hike back, I followed Pepper up the hill, and didn’t resist, nor cry, when she trotted far enough ahead to pull me along with her. I’m quite thankful to have such a wonderful hiking companion, and doubly thankful that I still have at least a little bit of go left in me, even if I have to be the caboose on my adventures. .
Back in our vehicle, with its air conditioning blasting away, Pepper and I continued on our day’s journey to the North Rim of the Grand Canyonas Dr. Seuss’s words danced in my head. Oh the places you’ll go and the things you’ll see. To be continued
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