Sunday, January 04, 2009

My father and the Grand Canyon

My father decided to hike the Grand Canyon. He started training by packing a ridiculous huge backpack and walking up and down the steep street we lived on. He was an engineering professor so he'd done all these mathematical calculations about the grade and distance of the street and how many times he'd have to walk it to simulate the Canyon. He'd figured out all these things like how much water and equipment he'd need and how much it would weigh and how much energy he'd expend over distance and how many calories he'd need to consume, blah, blah, blah..... I was at the time a regular teen - you know the sort that rolls her eyes at all her parents good advice....and stunts like this one.

He and my mom drove out West. They had done it before. This time he had a meeting in Utah and they'd left a week or so early to see some parks and do the canyon. Mom dropped him off at some certain point of departure for canyon-hikers and the plan was that he'd hike down, spend the night and come out the next day.

He started down. I am sure he was giddy with excitement, but trying to appear calm and blase about the whole thing like this was the sort of thing he did every day. About halfway down he was not feeling well. Did I mention this was about 2 or 4 years after he had a bout of colon cancer? Yeah. It was 16 years after he'd had to have a colostomy due to ulcerated colitis. Yeah. So back in the canyon he was not well. He slowed down, sat down and thought about what he should do. I know that was a hard decision he would have to make.

God made it easier on him. Somehow my father ran into another hiker. This guy was on his way up out of the canyon. He was not well either - dehydrated and out of water. Father shared some of his with him. I don't know the details of their conversation, but now I wish I had asked him. He decided to call it quits and share his water with the other guy. They estimated how much each would need to get back to the rim and poured the rest out to lighten the load. They hiked back out together.

I was sad that he didn't get to realize his dream of conquering the canyon. Even as a smart-alec teenaged girl, I knew it was a total bummer to go to all that time and effort to get ready to do something really big and then not get to complete your goal. But, I thank God for sending my father as an angel with water to help this man.

No comments: