Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Grand Canyon in Spring, Part II: Reasons to Believe

When you leave Monument Creek, if you can bear to leave, you climb high up what is called the Cathedral Stairs, up and over a small sway-backed saddle, until you look down, down into Hermit Creek. You can look back and see Granite Rapids, chocolate brown and far below, and Hermit Rapids just as far away. You can feel suspended in this place, the enormity of it, the whole canyon and the big sky. Being in the canyon gives you reasons to believe.
on the trail from Monument to Hermit

between Hermit and Boucher

To believe that life smooths out like the Colorado does after the rapids, to a placid brown ribbon flowing through the dark cliffs. To believe that you will figure it out, how to have the life you want, to make it through the long dark days of winter and the computer screen and wondering if you've really done enough with your life. Like I said, reasons to believe.

You don't see the campsite at Hermit Creek until you're almost upon it. You've walked across a broad bench and around the circular cut of the cliff and finally, there you are. The best thing about Hermit could easily be this pool, deep and cold and big enough to swim in. Or it could be a short walk upriver with a series of cascading waterfalls, where nobody seems to go. From here you can take an impulsive fourteen mile dayhike to the remote Boucher River, another deep chasm where you won't see anyone for hours. Or you can walk down to the rapids and hang out in sand as soft as pillows. It is, pretty much, paradise.

Gasp. A Selfie. At hermit rapids. One of my favorite places ever.

plunge pool at Hermit Creek
Boucher River drainage

But everything ends, right? So when you hear the crunch of feet heading to the composing toilet on your last morning, you sigh and get up, packing by headlamp, for the nine mile climb out. And it isn't too bad, steeper than you remember, with rockfall you have to climb over. There's a ranger at the two mile rest house, and day hikers near the top, and the next night's campers tap-tapping their way down, kind of late in the day in your opinion, and you get to the top and catch the free shuttle bus back to the village and the people around the rim are spending their eleven minutes allotted looking in and you know something they don't. And you also know this: you really just want to hang on to the feeling you had in the canyon when all you had to do was believe.



  1. Beautiful photographs! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  2. enjoy the blog Mary. The canyon lands are where my "need" to range was born. It has been a long winter. Time for some serious ranging! Keep writing.

  3. It's time for my hiking boots to come out and play, clearly.

    This was beautiful.

  4. Your camera has captured the colours so beautifully.

  5. It is so much more spectacular in person. A camera can't do it justice, but I tried.

  6. The selfie shows the smile of a very content lady! Believe in your dreams no matter where you are, they will come true!


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