GRAND EXPECTATIONS

Okay, okay, don’t get all excited, I haven’t done this yet. This photo was taken in 2008, when my friend Maddy and I visited the Grand Canyon, hiked a quarter of the way down and back up then thought we were both going to die. As we nursed our near-death bodies back to health with a few glasses of wine at the lodge, we heard a chorus of whoops and yells drifting up from the canyon below. They grew closer and louder by the second, and Maddy and I wondered what sort of lunatics would be working their way UP the canyon so raucously. Soon enough, a group of sweaty, bedraggled backpackers emerged above the surface, arms raised and fists pumping.

“Where are you guys coming from?” I asked, as though there a number of cities, towns and villages down there instead of a giant hole in the ground.

“RIM TO RIM BABY!” one elated backpacker yelled in my face with a big smile, then pulled me in for a grimy hug. His energy must have rubbed off on me along with days worth of canyon dust because a little voice popped in my head: “I’m going to do that one day.”

One day was ten years in the making. For my 40-hour sabbatical this year, I’ve decided to return to the Grand Canyon with Maddy and this time, we’re hiking ALL the way down. And ALL the way across. And ALL the way back up. God (and our rickety knees and ankles) willing.

A couple things have to happen first. We’ll need a National Parks Service permit to camp overnight, which we apply for in May and then hope we luck out in the lottery. And I’ll need to get into much, much better shape, which will require a whole lot less crap eating and a whole lot more cardio (probably on that pukerrific Stairmaster with actual stairs). So stay tuned. This journey has just begun.

Preparing for our baby hike ten years ago.

Preparing for our baby hike ten years ago.