Tag Archives: animals

Day 189: fearless in the grand canyon :: the finale – you can do anything!

8 Jul

Dawn breaks through the canyon walls in the early morning light.
It meant only one thing — it was time for us to leave. 

We reunited with our backpacks (which had been hiding for nine days) and instructed to repack our packs one more time.  This time for home.

My clean clothes were indiscernible from my dirty ones.  Everything in my bag smelled like river, even the few items I had not yet worn.

Our toiletry bag was torn to bits from the kamikaze ravens we encountered at one campsite.  The ravens got away with a bag of GORP (good old fashioned raisins and peanuts) but weren’t so lucky with our toothpaste.  We caught them right before they totally destroyed the ziplock bag holding my contacts, toothpaste and sunscreen.

I’ve never had an appreciation for ravens before. But, lore of the canyon says river guides come back reincarnated as the black birds — and, in watching the ravens of the canyon work together, that makes perfect sense. They fly together in pairs, they conference on rocks before they strike. They seem to know every nook and cranny of the canyon walls. They certainly knew which bags to steal a Vitamin C pack from.

But, it wasn’t just the ravens that surprised us.

We saw the most amazing creatures down in that canyon…

And insects…

And plant life…

And flowers…

All told, we hiked eight miles down from the top to the bottom of the grandest of canyons and rafted 190 miles of the Colorado River.

In 100+ degree heat…

As we packed our bags and prepared to board the jet boat, I reviewed in my mind what had just happened to me — what I had indeed done.

I jumped out of a boat, doing the splits…

Swam in the icy cold water of the Colorado River…

Learned how to get back into the boat (with a lot of help!)…

Jumped from the top of waterfalls…

Slept under the stars — without a tent!

Peed (and pooped) in a bucket…

Camped with scorpions crawling next to us…

Stood on the edge of the boat and Hunkered Down…

Rode the biggest rapid on the river…

Learned that deep down inside I can be FEARLESS!

Lovemore Fearless.

As we entered the jet boat and tied on our life preserves for the very last time, I was overcome with emotion.

As the jet boat motor sounded and we turned downstream, the river and rock started speeding, flashing by our eyes in an instant. It was the fastest we had gone all week.

Tears filled my eyes and a lump formed in my throat.
We did it. We made it. We were on our way home.

And in that moment, I knew. I knew it in my heart, in a way that I have never before so deeply understood.  I knew with every fiber of my being that we can do anything.

You Can Do Anything.

It repeated through my head as we sped down the green water and the tears were blown off my cheeks.

You can do anything.
You just have to try. Show up. Jump. Leap. Close your eyes and fly.

Just then, the jet boat swerved and abruptly stopped.  The captain pointed out something he had noticed over his last few trips down the canyon — a Great Blue Heron nest with babies.

As we sat in silence watching the brood, one took flight. And, then another.
Until they all flew away, back upstream.

Day 306: a bite of frost

2 Nov

I’m an Idaho girl.

Born and bred in the valley between the mountains. Learned to ski and hike and fish too (even though I screamed in disgust when the worms slimy innards bled all over my fingers as I attempted to attach it to a hook).

So you’d think I would take to all things outdoors — including winter.
So. Not. True.

I run cold.
And, this is what I woke up to this morning on my car windshield.

If there was any doubt in my mind, it is now officially confirmed by nature: summer is over.

Despite a few random snow storms up the east coast, winter is officially on it’s way. The birds have flown south and the frost has arrived.

There’s something so yummy about this time of year.
There is fall and then there is fall CLOTHING. Instead of hibernating, I believe we humans disguise ourselves like animals; in warm wooly sweaters like sheep and tall turtle necks like the tortoise.

Just like animals.
We are seasonal survivalists.

As for me, surviving this year, I am learning this no shopping thing is definitely the hardest when the seasons change. It’s as if shopping and food and family and traditions are in the air when the leaves sprout or turn.

As I sit here typing away in my warm and scrumptious Nellie Partow original wrap sweater with wooly slippers and three layers of t-shirts, all I crave is a piping hot cup of chocolate, baked squash and pumpkin pie. Add a fireplace and Mama Sling in the kitchen and it feels glorious, comforting, warm and welcoming.

A sharp contrast to the bite of frost outside.

It’s like I can smell the nutmeg.
And, it reminds me that we are all of the earth: then, now and later.

Since this earth up here in Massachusetts is about to freeze, I can honestly say it’s a good thing I fly south to Florida in a few days (drive south, that is).

Can you hear that?
My flip flops are already begging to be let out of the bag.

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