Grand Canyon, Day 3:
It’s Father’s Day.
I am deep inside the canyon, with nowhere to go but down river. We are approximately 2,000 miles above sea level and one mile down inside the canyon walls. I cannot call, mail or connect with my dad in any imaginable way.
Except, I am sitting in an inflatable yellow boat in the wild, remembering the little girl I once was, the one who followed her father into the forrest of Yellowstone and fished beside him in the creeks of Idaho.
It’s been many moons since I connected with that little girl.
Although there is a part of her I always carry with me. The one that was afraid of spiders and the creepy crawly creatures hidden in the campfire light. But, she loved singing songs and roasting smores with her sticky, chocolate covered fingers. And that made camping, as scary as it was, totally worth it.
It’s Father’s Day down in the canyon.
And, somewhere deep inside my heart I know my father would be proud of me, for pushing myself to the edge inside this vast geological wonderland. For sleeping under the stars — WITHOUT A TENT.
And, for admiring the scorpion situated between the rocks directly in front me while I sat on the GROOVER (Fearless).
Tonight we will eat filets and celebrate.
Today, we will also spot a bighorn sheep standing atop a rocky cliff, an old male ram with huge curved horns. It is as if he knows he is the king of the canyon. The master of his rocky perch, looking out upon the narrows with a knowingness of time and space and the laws of nature.
Today, we splashed.
We hiked back to a hidden falls, named Elves Chasm.
We frolicked in the water — and jumped fearlessly from a waterfall.
I pumped my hands in the air and yelled “fearless” from the top of the slippery falls, navigating the overgrown ferns, and then making my descent into the water. Plugging my nose the whole way down.
And, then the games began.
HUNKER DOWN it’s called by those who know it.
Two rafters stand on top of the boat, one at each end, holding onto the tow rope, pulling until it’s taut. Then the tug-of-war begins.
The first to fall loses.
I played the game twice with Courtney and went 1 for 1 — which means I won once and I lost once. But, instead of falling into the water I fell into the boat. (Not all that gracefully I might add.)
A game of skill.
A game of balance.
A game of chicken.
Mostly, it was an excuse to get wet and cool off in the hot, desert sun.
That night, at camp, amongst the horse shoe games, bocci balls and ice-cold river showers, I found myself oddly at home. Comfortable. Content.
Canopied by a sky full of the Milky Way and thousands of stars, planets, and other galaxies spreading out before us, I couldn’t help but drift back to the night sky of my youth. The camping trips my family would take out into the wilderness.
Back then, I was always the pansie, the reluctant one.
That scared little girl.
But, here I was, in the grandest of canyons, sleeping amongst the stars and the scorpions, with bats dipping and diving through the air all around.
And, all I could think in my head was, “If only my dad could see me now.”
Happy Father’s Day.