Want to hike the Grand Canyon? This was a quick text my husband sent me a couple of years ago. He went on to say that he was having lunch with a friend who hikes it each year and we were invited to join him. It sounded like a great idea, neither of us had ever been there and we welcome new ways spend time together. Sign us up, I said.
Over the next few weeks I realized what we had gotten ourselves into. It’s called the Rim to Rim, a hike from the North Rim to the South Rim of the canyon, almost 25 miles, with a 4,000 foot elevation difference IN ONE DAY. It is strongly recommended by the park to take this hike at a pace of 2-3 days. We began training almost immediately, running the bleachers at the high school, hiking through the Minnesota parks and trails and working out daily throughout the entire summer.
The time came for the hike, we did it on the last weekend that the North Rim would be open before winter set in, to avoid dangerous hot temperatures across the canyon floor (still over 100 degrees at the heat of the day). It was one of the best experiences I have had; the beauty that we witnessed was second to none, and we overcame a challenge together, hiking a large portion of the trail alone as a couple. That was my favorite part. The last few miles were spent climbing out of the canyon in the dark, slowly moving up switchbacks while the altitude made it difficult to breathe. That was my least favorite part. We made it out in 14 hours, right in the middle of the group we had started with.
Exhausted and jubilant, we had a great night’s sleep and met the group the following morning to hear all the stories of the hike. After breakfast, the friend who originally invited us took us to the lookout point so we could see what we had done. I was speechless as he showed us with binoculars where we began, then descended and portions of the trail we took throughout the breadth of the canyon. Next he pointed out the switchbacks that we had climbed the night before, there were thousand foot drop-offs at many places we had been. I commented that I would never have been able to do this hike if I had seen the canyon from this perspective. Our guide said that God is very much the same way, He only shows us what we need to see in order to take the next step forward, if we knew from the beginning what we would have to go through to get to the end, we would probably never even bother trying.
I am so thankful for a wise creator who knows what is best for me, and shows me only what I need to see ahead. I am also thankful for friends who push us to do things we never imagined, and point to God along the way.
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11