I woke up alone in my tent. It was 110 degrees F and I had stopped sweating. Severally dehydrated, I stuck my head out of the canvas door and took a deep breath of cool air. I was at Burning Man and it was time to start another adventure. I went through my bucket list in my head and smiled. I was going to drive to the Grand Canyon.
I packed up camp and started the drive from Black Rock City to the direction of Las Vegas. I was miles from Internet access and didn’t have a map but figured that if the Grand Canyon was visible from space, I could probably find it. My line of thought reasoned that since I knew it was possible to take helicopters from the Vegas strip to the Canyon itself, that it must be somewhere close to the city. 14 hours later I proved my assumption wrong. The Grand Canyon is in Arizona, not Nevada. :-) #TooManyStates
The drive ended up being one of my favorite road trips. I spent the hours of solitude reflecting on life, friends, family and happiness. At one point my iPod stopped working. I picked it up and was greeted with an overheating message. Shortly afterwards, I passed the turn to Death Valley National Park, the hottest place in North America. It was 120 degrees F outside and I hadn’t even noticed. At that point I switched to radio for the rest of journey. It was the first time I had listened to Country music for extended periods of time without being at a themed party. Since then, country music has become a permanent part of my life playlist.
I eventually made it to Vegas and made a call to my friend Sean. He was used to my impromptu road trips to Vegas at this point (this was my third) and he answered the phone call by asking me what time I would be arriving. I laughed and said in about an hour.
I left early the next morning and took to the road again to make my way to Arizona. By this point, Sean had filled me in on the details and eagerly awaited seeing the Hoover Dam at the border of Arizona and Nevada. Traffic was light and the view was magnificent. There have been a few times in my life when I have been really proud to be a human. Standing on the dam and reading the story of how it was built was one of those times. Yes there was a lot of bad that came from changing the flow of the river but at the same time dams are sweet. I can’t think of a better symbol for the war between man and nature. Perhaps an astroid? I digress.
I left the Hoover Dam with a huge smile on my face.
I continued on my journey toward the canyon for another five hours. The drive was peaceful and beautiful. After the 14 hours of driving, I finally made it to the Grand Canyon. I found the hiking center and was directed to a nearby bus station. I chose an 11 mile hike because I figured most tourists would choose either something shorter or a longer multi-day trek.
The hike ended up being the best hike I have ever been on. It was a beautiful day and the canyon glowed in all of its glory. I had never seen anything like it. To this day, I still think it is the biggest thing I have ever seen. It is massive and made me feel incredibly tiny. I busted out my fruit cup (like a baller does) and found a spot at the top of a ridge a few hundred feet from the trail. The Canyon was remarkably quiet. Without meaning to, I found myself in my meditative pose and closed my eyes. I am not sure how long I was there but it wasn’t long enough. The feeling was extraordinary. I felt released.
I hiked the remainder of the trail and drove back to Vegas. I spent the night catching up with Sean and exploring some of his favorite Vegas spots. I love that city.
The next morning I woke up and decided to make a slight detour to the Red Wood Forest before driving back to Seattle. It was another one of those types of mornings.