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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Knock! Knock! Knock!
It was time. Karl and Tom were outside my door, whispering and restless. I went through my mental list one more time before I opened the door.
The first afternoon and early evening on the South Rim was tempestuous. The Arizona skies were heavy and swirling. This is never a good sign in the monsoon season of early September, especially for a hiker about to descend into the enormous gash that is Grand Canyon. When stimulated, monsoon season means a heavy diet of rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. It means clear skies that turn to into an apocalyptic fury that can curdle the blood of the most fearless of campers. One look at the sky upon our arrival and I knew it was going to be an interesting week.
Summer hikes in the great Southwest are seductive. The morning scents of sage and pine intoxicate the soul and activate something in the brain that says, "Walk!" One feels free and both big and small under the huge sky. Making us feel like a child just learning to get about, the big land beckons us to explore it. "Walk!"