Surreal

I am literally living my dreams and that can be both scary and euphoric.

Ever since that very first time when I was in the Tetons and heard that amazing beast of an Elk bellowing out to his potential mate(s), I’ve felt that very same feeling over and over (more times than I can count). It is a surreal feeling having become content with awe and amazement. Many times I’m hit with the surreal feeling while driving.

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The mindlessness of driving long stretches allows my mind to wander and reflect on what I’m doing. Sometimes that spooky feeling of questioning if my reality is a dream or indeed reality comes over me. While driving through Olympic National Park I faced that same reality warp and when I realized that this living dream is indeed my life, I burst into tears.

I felt like I was walking in a dream while hiking down into the Grand Canyon. Being the first ever hike that involved a descent prior to an ascent, it was a completely new experience for me. The Bright Angel Trail gave me a false sense of ease as I pleasantly moseyed my way down the path, taking in the change of views as the sun rose above the canyon.

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The sun became a maker of darkness as well as light as it shown on the endless bends of stone along the canyon, creating beautiful ever changing shadows. As I made my descent deeper and deeper into the canyon I passed many lines in the stone. It was as if Mother Nature was notching off my progress as I descended to my resting place for lunch.

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As a result of having an early start on the trail I relaxed during lunch and allowed myself extra time for reading my book while lying on a bench. I ate my pepperoni stick (I am now a lover of dried meats for my hikes), and took in the scenery of red rock and desert plants that surrounded me. While enjoying the sound of the chirping birds and absolute quietness at Indian Garden (the end of my descent and start of my ascent) I made a mental note of yet another travel experience I hope to enjoy in the future.  There are camp sites along the trail, near the Colorado River.

Often people tell me I should overnight backpack rather than just doing day hikes. Or run marathons rather than just doing half marathons. Going the extreme just isn’t my thing. I love challenging myself in a variety of different activities and don’t feel a need to take it to the next level. I love spending the day hiking in the woods or to the top of a mountain point, then returning to the comfort of a bed (or the back seat of my car) and hopefully a warm shower. But the campsite at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is an exception.

Indian Garden had campsites with running water and bathroom facilities. Having these amenities at a backpacker’s campsite is very unique and something I haven’t seen since I’ve been on the road.  I can only imagine the utter peacefulness of lying under the stars, in the mouth of one of Earth’s largest canyons. That experience would be truly surreal, until I was faced with the long, steep, heavy climb up to the south rim. No need to question real from dream at that point – the Grand Canyon is over a mile deep.

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