This is it. Today I board a plane for Arizona. I will visit with family and explore Phoenix for a few days then my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and I will be heading to the Grand Canyon where we will hike down to the Colorado River, spend two nights, then hike out. I hope that sentence made me seem like a fearless adventurer who boldly takes on the challenges of nature and laughs in the face of danger. Lest you get that impression, let me correct you - I’m totally freaking out!
Okay, let’s calm down and do a flashback here. (Insert wavy image and flashback sound.) My experiences growing up included going to visit my sister and her family in Arizona. We saw the Grand Canyon, Old Tuscon, Suagoro Park, Sedona, and so much more. I loved our visits out there because the West was so different from my home in the Mid-West. It was wild and big. My parents began to subscribe to Arizona Highways magazine and learn more about the 48th state. Along with the magazine came a VHS documentary about experiencing the Grand Canyon. It covered mule riding, whitewater rafting down the Colorado, hiking, and camping in the canyon. I watched that tape so many times. A documentary about experiencing the canyon watched repeatedly at my own request. (Jaring noise - flashback over) Wait, what? You watched what over and over? Yes, yes, I know, but that’s who I am. It was a way for me to plan something for the future. I would tell my friends that someday I would ride a mule down the canyon. I would whitewater raft on the canyon. I would do something exciting and adventurous. Although I haven’t done any of those things (yet), I am grateful for the time I spent dreaming of adventures and imagining a life beyond what was typical.
Although I do consider myself adventurous, I’m far from being outdoorsy. In high school, I went on a yearly camping trip with my youth group and loved the experience of being with my friends, playing our group’s highly competitive version of capture the flag, and spending time by the campfire singing and talking about God. Those were yearly overnight trips that I enjoyed, but never desired to repeat by myself. Shortly after Jason and I got married we took a camping trip with friends and it was fun, but camping just seemed like a whole lot of work for what is supposed to be a vacation. Last year we went camping in a trailer with a bed and kitchen and that was marvelous. I was all about that. There was still work involved, but it felt more like staying in a moving hotel.
So how did I end up here? Well, my sister said she wanted to hike the canyon and I told her that I wanted to go along too. She and my brother-in-law planned all the details, reserved the campground and transportation, etc. They have graciously arranged everything so that all I have to do is show up. At the time showing up seemed totally doable and I was excited to have said yes. For months I’ve been training on my treadmill using steep incline, doing squats and lunges, and accumulating the necessary gear. I’ve watched the YouTube videos and done all the prep work that I can. My bags are packed and my plane takes off for Phoenix this afternoon. My current mental state? I’m fluctuating between the first and the third stages of pre-activity anxiety. I’m anticipating our adventure after all that training and supply gathering but I’m also freaking out. What if I didn’t train as aggressively as I should have? What if I forget something important? What if I get down there and can’t sleep? What if . . . ? What if . . . ? What if . . . ?
So that’s where I am this morning. Slightly anxious, but trusting my training and my family’s planning. I want to prove to myself that I can do something daunting and come out the other side. I want to explore God’s beautiful creation from a unique perspective. I want to show Logan and the kids I get to spend time with that they don’t have to be seasoned explorers to take grand adventurers. I hope to inspire others to follow and try something that requires courage and determination in the face of nerves and anxiety.
I’ll be posting updates on Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow along. I’d appreciate prayers for courage, reduced anxiety, and a mind open to learning what God has to teach me through this. Thank you, friends!
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."