Park Ranger took me on an adventure today. He took me to the Grand Canyon. We visited the Grand Canyon about 23 years ago; although, things were a lot different then.
Twenty three years ago we visited the Grand Canyon on the way to California. Park Ranger was working on his doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary, and he decided to take the whole family for one of his sessions. The whole family consisted of Park Ranger, myself, Josh (age 5) and Katie (age 2).
We bought a used pop up camper, hooked it up to our full sized van and took off. Of course, Park Ranger had parks for us to stop at all along the way. It was April, and April in Texas is pretty warm. April in Northern Arizona, Utah, and Nevada are not so warm, so right off the bat, I packed the wrong kind of clothes. We ended up buying a round of sweatshirts for the entire family at several of the parks so that we would have enough clean clothes to keep everybody warm.
Visiting the National Parks in April is completely different than visiting in the summer. In April, the parks are filled with retired people, couples, as well as families with small children. On this particular trip, it seemed like we were the only people traveling in the parks with small children. We had a blast every place we went. The kids were great. We tried to visit parks in the morning, then we would have lunch, load up and get on the road just in time for the kids to go down for naps. We would get to the next park, set up the camper, check things out, have supper, play, go to bed. That was the routine all the way to California. That trip is a warm memory in my mind.
This trip, we were watching the families with small children and WE were the "old" people. I kept remembering Josh running around and talking nonstop in that high little voice that he used to have and Katie just toddling around. In fact, Katie was about the same age that TJ is now.
We have always wanted to spend time in the parks and see some of the sights without the time, physical and age restrictions that we have had in the past.
Several years ago, when I was going through the process of being approved for bariatric surgery, one of the things I was asked was, "What do you see yourself doing when you are 100 pounds lighter that you can't do now?" I answered, "hiking with my husband in the parks." That became a reality this trip.
On the way to the canyon, I looked over the different trails, what we would see, how difficult they were and how long was the hike. I selected one and told Tom of my selection--he agreed with my selection. We took the shuttle to the trailhead and began our descent. The descent was exhilarating. It felt so good to be able to move down that trail. We got to the overlook in 30 minutes.
The overlook was breathtaking. We sat on the rocks and enjoyed the view and had a snack of dried apples, peanuts and G2 Gatorade. The ascent was totally different. We would climb until we were both so out of breath that we couldn't go any further, then we would rest for a couple of minutes. We did that over and over again until we finally made it to the top, an hour and a half later.
You will never know the feeling of triumph that I felt completing that hike. I told Park Ranger that this was our maiden voyage, and it was successful. It was so successful that were even able to walk to the restaurant for our dinner that was down the street from our hotel. It may not sound like a big deal, but if you have been in my shoes, then you will know how excited we were. SCORE!!!