At the Source of the Grand Canyon National Park

To be “at the source” means to be at the place from where things originate. To go to “the source” or to be at “the source” can mean a lot of different things to many different people. For me soaking my feet in the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon was like being at “the source”. I reached a part of the world where life began and a masterpiece had been created.

A few weeks back I took a bucket list trip to the Grand Canyon National Park with my ever-adventurous sister. We had planned this trip several months back as a response to my life suddenly taking a turn I had never expected. Telling myself, “Fuck….if this is what you want to do, you should just do it.” The Grand Canyon National Park had forever been on my list of places to explore and according to my sister (which I completely agreed with), the only way to see a place like the Grand Canyon was to backpack. So, I said sign me up and we booked the trip.

image of Grand Canyon National Park

My sister at our first campsite.

I knew this would be a physically challenging trip, but it was the kind of challenge I was so desperately looking for. I needed something to propel me towards the mindset of “I can do anything I set my mind to.” It is amazing how ending a long-term relationship can make you think of yourself as a failure when most of the evidence points to the contrary. I needed this challenge to prove to myself I had not failed, but rather, I was on the path to growth and transformation.

Upon arriving at the park we made our way to Grandview Point, where we were to start our journey. A jaw-dropping scenery lay in front of me offering peace solace and the highest level of gratitude – that I was lucky enough to see a wonderful place like this. 

Our plans were to camp and hike for three nights and three days – taking two days to hike to the bottom of the canyon and one day to hike back out. I also knew the hike out was going to be our most challenging of the entire trip, which weighed heavily on my mind.

Grand Canyon, backpacking, hiking, camping

Grand Canyon, backpacking, hiking, camping

Those first few days were indescribable. here you are this tiny speck within this spectacular, unforgiving landscape. Quickly understanding I was not in control and that Mother Nature always is. I enjoyed the solitude, the beauty, and the simple thought that I was backpacking through the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon, backpacking, hiking, camping

On the second day, as we slowly approached the bottom, we could both see and hear the roaring Colorado River – a reassuring sign we were almost there. Finally, as we found the bottom of the canyon we came to a section of the river called New Hance Rapids. The sound alone revealed the power of the river and what it was capable of. As we approached the edge I could hardly hear my sister’s words, the force of the water took over. Suddenly I felt instantly connected… the source. I was at the source, where it all started. The source of all life…water. As I sunk my feet into the sandy shore of the Colorado River, I instantly felt a sense of relief. A feeling, that I knew I was going to be ok.

Grand Canyon, backpacking, hiking, camping

The final day proved to be a challenge, a hike that was only supposed to take us six hours at the most turned into nine hours with us running out of water at the very end. I would like to say that I completed this trek gracefully but the Grand Canyon kicked my ass. It was another, not so subtle reminder that Mother Nature was in control, not me. Tears definitely were shed out of pain and despair but then came tears of happiness and sense of accomplishment as we saw the road that would lead us back to where we started. I came out of the canyon a different person than when I started….the best version of myself. I re-discovered the source of who I was.

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