Grand Canyon Series -
Self-wealth is found when living in your truth. We become “rich” with self-worth when we know and accept ourselves. When I decided to join this group of women to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I had no idea the riches I would find. The riches from my inner journey. The combination of nature, willingness, and vulnerability made this trip to the Grand Canyon one of deep self-work. I learned that sitting with, and leaning into discomfort, is the surest way to bring forth my truth. The journey continues….
My husband and I pulled up to Maswik Lodge and I hopped off the back of the Honda Goldwing; I grabbed my hiking backpack and trekking poles out of the trailer, ready for more adventure. I turned to my husband for a hug, stepped back, and dug in my pocket. At one of the campsites, I picked up a rock that split into two as I held it. Ironically, each half had a subtle heart shape to them. I suggested my husband carry one in each of his pockets for safe travels (He was heading on to Texas, while I journeyed the depths of the Canyon.) With that, he was back on the Goldwing, and off he went.
I was excited to meet my fellow hikers and canyoners. I was the first to arrive and soon the others trickled in. We had become acquainted on the pre-hike zoom calls, but THIS is what we had been waiting for. It was like a reunion with longtime friends. We ordered pizza and got to know each other. We walked to the rim and overlooked Plateau Point. Sarah, our wilderness guide and coach, pointed out the portion of the trail we would be on during our hike out of the canyon in three days. We did a short meditation at the rim and then tried to get some sleep.
At 3:30 AM, after a short Prayer To The Four Directions, we took our first steps into the canyon. With headlamps on, we began our descent on the South Kaibab Trail through the switchbacks known as “the chimney.” Our goal was to arrive at ooh-aah point to watch the sunrise. About half an hour in, we heard the clip-clop of the mules carrying the day's rations and supplies to Phantom Ranch – our destination for the evening. As the mules got closer a cowboy shouted, “step to the inside please.” We all stepped off the trail and were practically hugging the canyon walls! Soon he shouted, “lights off please” and all headlamps went dark. Before we knew it, we were face to face with the mule train of seven mules and three cowboys. What a sight! And it was only just the beginning.
At ooh-aah point, the sunrise revealed bands of oranges, tans, browns, golds, greens, and yellows; the wake-up of the canyon was a beautiful site. Throughout the day we stopped at several points for meditation, reflection, and journal entries. Each one allowed my heart to open a bit more and release things I had been holding on to. I was working on one entry that helped me release the anger I had carried from rough years and bad choices my son had made. As I traced a heart rock in my journal, I heard a WHOOSH; a sand tornado was spiraling and kicking up the dusty sandstone. It was like it was carrying the anger away with it (picture the Tasmanian Devil).
A tradition on the trail is selecting trail names for each member of our hiking tribe. I was the first to step out on a rock ridge wearing what became our “traveling dress.” As the wind blew the skirt and billowy sleeves of the dress, I was awarded the trail name “Wings.” But I’ll remember that moment on the rock as the beginning of making peace with myself. As I stood, overlooking the canyon and the green of the Colorado River flowing through the valley below, I cried and quietly said “Look at me!” wishing my mom and dad could see me now. There was more stirring inside of me.
The day was getting hotter, and we had about 2 miles of trail to go when Sarah pointed out the metal bridge we would cross and a small beach where we would spend some time. It was a motivating factor to keep moving. We carried on, encouraging one another, and supporting each other as we shared what was surfacing for each of us.
Before we knew it, we were there! Oh, that water felt good. We ran in and splashed around and, when the water was knee high, I sat down to take in the beauty of the canyon from the bottom up. I was now, metaphorically, ready to look at things from the inside out. I stood up to return to the beach and noticed a heaviness in the pocket of my hiking shorts. I reached in to feel what it was and pulled out…
My waterlogged cell phone.
After an attempt to dry it out (we had no rice!) and a silent prayer that my photos had automatically backed up to Google, it was time to let go. My phone was toast. I took it as a sign to support me in my intention to relax, be fully present, and notice more. We left the river and hiked on to Phantom Ranch. We had the traditional meal of chili and cornbread as we shared insight and discoveries, we had about ourselves and each other during our hike to the bottom.
Later, I grabbed my pillow from the bunk bed and laid on the picnic table looking up into the deep dark sky and watching the stars. More was surfacing, but it would have to wait until tomorrow now that the bats were swooping 6 inches from my face!
Watch for my next blog to learn more about my healing journey….
Note: As part of my healing– I have become an ambassador for Sara Schulting-Kranz’s The Live Boldly Movement. I host a free Walk Through This book club (you buy the book and join in on Zoom). When you are ready to peel back the layers contact me to begin: Nancy@KalsowCoach.com