The picture is me – taken 10 years ago tomorrow…. halfway down the Grand Canyon…. I had driven across the country with my co-pilot my puppy Aggie, sharing Waffle House steak and eggs each morning….
I had been to the Canyon 12 years earlier and had descended a few hundred feet below the rim… then and there I swore I would one day hike to the bottom….
When I retired from teaching in 2004, I started crossing items off my bucket list – not a list in my head, list my wife had coaxed out of me at the depths of our poverty and despair over her mysterious illness….
“WHEN I get better, you get to do this list,” she said…
and she got better….
I retired from teaching in 2004 and started checking items off the list
I conducted a drum corps
I had a kick-ass week with my acting teacher
I got all my union cards as an actor
Then I hired a trainer… who I told to signal me the second he thought I was ready physically to hike the canyon … and when my bicep was ready for a tattoo. I was not weak, but I was far from strong….
6 months later, my trainer turned to me as I was finishing a 75th push-up and said, “ok… up…. now go hike a canyon…. and on your way back – get a tattoo.”
Two months later i was on the road – literally and figuratively.
Hiking the Grand Canyon was the most difficult thing I had done physically.
I was scared half way down that i couldn’t do it… I was terrified when I reached the bottom – fearing I would never muster the strength to get out. I was sore is ways I had never been.
I spent overnight at the bottom of the canyon. A night that saw a horrendous stop blow through the camp… washing away tents, and backpacks. I was luckily in a barracks-type building.
The next morning I come to find out that part of the trail had been washed out.
that was enough impetus to drive me up and out….
Hiking that canyon drove my desire to do more…
I’m still on the quest….
Hope we cross paths as we each check items off our lists….