Off the deck and into the wild—Call of the Canyon

If there’s one hike you do in Arizona, let it be the North Fork Trail or “Call of the Canyon” off Highway 89 out of Sedona. Yes, folks, it’s long. We did close to seven miles before we turned around and could have gone further if we hadn’t run out of time, water and snacks.

It was everything I love in a hike. Stream crossings every half mile or so, stunning sculpted red bluffs, fields of wildflowers and ferns, constant birdsong, level and easy walking, and COOL. My tricky hip didn’t start acting up until the last mile or so, so I take it back about hiking—I’m still game for it! We probably wouldn’t have gone on this one if Bill, the aforementioned motel manager in Sedona, hadn’t underlined it heavily on the map—but as it was, Mike had been wanting vistas and elevation (read: rough, steep, hot trail) and kept fussing about being on the valley floor, where I was in heaven.In spite of that, we both got amazing photos and had a wonderful, if sweaty, four hour hike on our way to Flagstaff.

From the beginning of the day, a high thin cloud cover cut the intense heat as we progressed to Grand Canyon. By the time we got to Grand Canyon’s south rim and joined the herd of lemminglike tourists headed for the cliff, it was 4:00 p.m. and we were beat.

I was immediately stunned into overwhelm by the magnitude, dizzying depth and sheer giganticness of the Grand Canyon—not to mention the shuffling, babbling herds of fellow humans whom I’d have gladly done without. So we wandered that well-traveled cement path along the edge of the abyss, and took some inadequate photos, and Mike found us (miracle of miracles!) a room in one of the lodges here in the Park.

After a shower and a brief nap, here I am sitting on the tiny cement patio, looking at the clouds and pine trees and trying to assimilate the day. Per usual, Mike has gone off for his sunset shoot. We aren’t sure what we’re doing tomorrow; this place is so big it’s hard to know where to start, and our idea of a helicopter tour is too expensive. I think we’ll probably take to the road for the North Rim tomorrow after another goggle or fifty at the Canyon.

Veins of the earth carve

Deep through granite tissues coursing 277 miles

(not that miles mean anything)

A great rent in the skin of the earth made

of a rainbow of stonecolors.

Mass of humanity and cacophony of tongues

 A river of ants

Insignificant and transitory

 Pouring around the edge

Looking and wondering as they always have

Busy eyes, hands, feet and cameras

While the heart of the land

Beats on, unchanging

Far below and way above.


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