It takes at least two days for me to detach my brain and soul from our wired world. The first night in the canyon is often one of withdrawal. There are no distractions, no phones, no Internet, no books, no television, no nothing. There's only everything that the heavens have to offer—that is if the night is clear. On this first canyon night it wasn't. But the full moon was glowing and trying to assert itself behind an eerie and stubborn mist.
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Hermit Rapids was right there, close enough to feel the spray of its froth. We walked along the sandy beach of the Colorado River. The river was roaring, churning and angry—looking more like boiling milk chocolate than water. Our packs and clothes were heavy with sweat and rainwater though my spirit had lightened considerably since leaving Hermit Creek Canyon. I'd been all but certain that a river of boulders, trees, and mud would have buried me alive back there. But all the mud did was benignly attach itself to just about every part of me and my belongings. Even my camera was covered with muck due to the third and last somersault I'd taken just moments before.
There were more slides on the Hermit Trail than I cared to count. I actually did try to count them for awhile but decided to keep track of my foothold instead. I lost track at around the ninth slide—which was a big one. I heard myself groan as I climbed over the massive boulder field that constituted the slide. It cut off the trail at an almost-perfect perpendicular angle. The trail continued on the other side but my attention was to my left where everything dropped off into nothingness. The nothingness continued for about 1000 feet straight down where it ended in another boulder field. "It's all academic," I muttered to myself. "It would only take a fall of about twenty feet to kill me anyway. The rest just adds drama to the story." The next noise I made was another grunt as I safely landed on the other side of the sl
Karl, Tom, and Mark are off again on a wild, Grand Canyon adventure—our seventh annual trip! So, La Macchina Fotografica will be on vacation as well. We'll have some great new photos and stories to tell when we return later this month.
Every journey into Grand Canyon has a transcendent moment that is ineffable. One stands and looks out and up and feels a connection with land and spirit that cannot be described with earthly words. Reaching the Colorado River on our second day of Nankoweap was such a moment. In an instant, the trials of the day before vaporized off into the late morning sun. I stood, transfixed by the sensory feast before me and within me. "This is why I hike Grand Canyon!" I thought.
Most first-time visitors to Grand Canyon wonder where the river is. It can't be seen from the most visited spots on the South Rim. The park rangers like to tell of a particular group who tried to carry a raft from the rim to the river, figuring it was a short walk. They soon discovered their folly. You can't see the river for a long time on the way down from either of the two main trails. Everyone wants to see the elusive river and for the casual observer it refuses to reveal itself.