The Boy Teacher and the Father Student 10 (Nature vs. Nurture, Hiking the Grand)
Not the Grand at all, Oak Creek Canyon Looking South
Where the Weak of Heart Need Not Travel
The year is 1997. It was the first hike back for the father. Cancer had removed him from hiking for two years. The boy is headstrong like any 21 year old should be. Cock fired sure of himself. With more energy than a Hummingbird. Like his little brother we thought for sure that the ministry would snare him. Spiritual beyond understanding but never to be a religionist. So well versed in philosophy he gave his dad an Oxford compendium from which the father was to ask the questions and the boy responds. Probably as intense for the dad as he had to decide if it was plausible logically or romantically.
So the hike into the Grand Canyon was arduous at best, probably more like brutal to the father. The father petered out about two miles horizontal and 400 feet vertical from base camp. A twenty minute rest and perfect fluids and trail Gorp and he was up and trudging. A plan was being developed to take some out of the 45 pound pack and come back for it later. Luckily the sun was cooperating and the temperatures only in the high 90”s. Another rest after only twenty minutes. Enough water but not a lot.
And then there was a bronze figure more like a David literally jogging up the slope, sun on his back. Then leaping from rock to rock. A pack on his back with fluids, a first aid kit and nothing else. The son had returned with an empty pack to take some of his dad’s weight and to cheer him on. Notice he came with a pack. To uphold honor he only took a portion of the dad’s weight.
And so the verbiage begins.
B: You are doing great dad.
F: Bullshit son, if I was not depleted I would be crying in gratitude.
B: I was only ten and you came back for me.
F: Over a decade ago my little buddy.
B: What is time but an illusion? Today you I and today you help me. Time only is what we make of it.
F: I hope to hell you are not going to say my physical condition is also an illusion as my mind makes with it as it will.
B: Slug down this Gatorade dad, you look like hell.
F: How is our friend the Colorado running? Clear I hope.
B: Perfect dad unless you account for the fact that when brown it fertilizes more. Thomas is already fishing for dinner.
F: There I changed my socks, no blisters so let’s get this done.
B: Get in the zone dad.
Hoorah, We Did Not Get Killed By This Amazing Flash Flood
Now We Do Not Do Improved Trails, This Is Like a Danged Highway.
The Beat Goes On!
The boy is either just super smart or acting on instinct. The focus of a mind of a body in trauma or hardship for the interim must be on other than the problem. There will time enough later to evaluate issues later. We must never let our analytic mind think it can always find a solution other than one foot in front of the other.
B: Either fresh fish or steak for dinner and potatoes your job is to make those stuffed apples.
F: How in the hell did you guys carry all that down here?
B: We have some beers too.
F: Are you guy’s nuts with all that weight?
B: You will be back to doing it next hike.
B: Dad I know we are in a lens of formation but what lens?
F: Hakatai formation. Something like mesoproatisaic. You can see this outcrop is bright orange but up ahead is like a dark bluish red. What we see is the furthest deposit up river. I don’t think it is going anywhere soon.
B: Are we talking like 20 million years old.
F: I think you should know the answer.
B: Just checking to see if you remember.
F: BS that is the oldest dodge in the west.
F: SA you write yours in the dirt over there and I will write mine over here.
B: OK, 200 million years old.
F: Try over 1,000 million years old. And you are the man I hardly noticed that last half mile except for the formations! Any how the Unkar group including the Hatatai is way over half a mile deep in spots.
B: I like my hiking sticks but I notice coming back down I can see the track clearly. Just one more piece of evidence of man. Maybe I should rethink them.
F: The only reason I don’t use them except in rocks is because they are too heavy to lift up and down.
B: Seriously dad; do you ever get the feeling of Déjà vu when you hike a new to you trail?
F: Yeah dude, all the time.
B: Where do you think that comes from down here?
F: You are doing it again and this time you have to answer straight up.
B: I am going with a combo of sight, smell and the void of sound, not even the vultures come down on this trail, although you would think there would be carcasses around.
Wow You Can Feel Small
The Boy Is Also a "Paper Artist".
Rest Thy Bones In the Cradle Of Love.
F: You little SOB I can smell the river from here. And I feel better than I did 2 miles back.
B: Just a quarter mile more dad. I am thinking we rest right up there.
F: I think I can charge through.
B: No way. We sit on that rock up there and we reload your pack so you march into camp fully loaded. You did that for me when I was ten I think.
F: Don’t think this is what goes around comes around. Your heart has never been my concern, that is all on you! Thank you son.
The smell of a campfire, which is nowadays strictly forbidden. Spurs the old man on. Actually you could already smell the fresh Rainbow Trout frying up with lemon and onion and butter and garlic. Around the next corner and there is a shout from a 20 year old nephew – “Holy shit! You actually made it!!” Damn there goes 10 bucks. And the boy walks 30 yards behind. Congratulations abound. A chair is next to the ice cold Colorado and the Dad heads right over to soak his feet. Two Ibuprofen and a cold beer reaches his hand. The setting sun creates a crimson miracle a mile high on the cliffs. His brother in hiking for 25 years with 2 sons, with us, places his hand right where the shoulders are raw from the pack straps and squeezes. Laughter is the tune that is a full orchestra in this place.
B: I found you the perfect sleeping spot just up there.
F: That might be too far away boy.
B: You can make it and we do not want to hear your bear snoring all night. Remember the last time and Pat threw his boot at your head and connected.
F: Might as well get to making those baked apples. I brought a treat of honey for them. Thanks son.
B: Dad I wanted you to make it more than you did. Hiking down knowing you with cancer were the hardest hikes I have ever done. Today was just fun. Finally we are home again. I guess we never really leave we just come back where place and soul are one. Really close to being here, is to being with each other.