|Fueling the fire on the way to the rim.|
|Pictures just do not show the reality.|
We spiraled out over a gently ascending trail before the serious climb, the point of no return, the ranger residence at Roaring Springs. Once a family lived here but now it was vacant, only occupied intermittently. I gnawed a frozen Snickers and contemplated the trail ahead. This part of the canyon was a completely different place, close-walled and narrow-sided, the sun never reaching parts of the icy trail. One section was only possible to cross by palming a rope tightly to the chest and skittering across, the rest of the trail lost to a washout. At the mile and a half resthouse we climbed through packed ice and snow, passing a viewpoint and finally, inexplicably, arrived at the other end of the world.
Traversing the canyon is like that. In the bottom it feels like an endless sweep of reality, the only place that exists. Once you climb out, you can see forever, all the layers of rock pressing down on each other, the timeless sweep of canyon rim. You look back to the South Rim and it looks so far away it is unimaginable.
We descended on food like hyenas and shivered in the white deserted parking lot. Nothing moved but the wind. It wasn't a place you could stay for long, and we donned spikes and raced the sunset home.
The next morning was a leisurely stroll back to the Bright Angel Campground, a place that felt familiar already. The tame deer, the clean soap smell that trailed cabin dwellers, the sandy beach where a few brave souls plunged into the Colorado. The very bottom of the canyon already seemed sweet and dear. It already seemed like home. I wanted somehow to live a parallel life where I could see what it was like to live down here forever.