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  • Kristen Seaholm

Ridges, Layers, & Color - The Grand Canyon

Guest Writer – Kristen Seaholm

Photographer - Arsenio Baca

The Grand Canyon - I needed this trip far more than I could have ever thought. They all say you need to see it to believe it, in terms of its size and majestic powers. They never said anything about it reaching deep into your soul and pulling out a whole new you, you didn’t even know existed. Each ridge, layer, and color representing the complex ridges, layers, and colors making up each of us, and it is up to us for how deep down the canyon we want to go to reveal our true selves. I had no real idea just how deep we would go…

Hiking the Grand Canyon isn’t your typical hike. Firstly, you begin with going down, not up, which most might think would be the easy part. Well… It’s not!! Scaling the side of the canyon, offering narrow slippery slopes, leading 5 miles straight to your immediate death, is not something to take lightly! The views obviously amazing, it oddly added a new layer of complication with each step down, not wanting to miss the epic surrounding yet not wanting to misstep, again leading to your immediate death.

It wasn’t nerve wracking the whole way down though, which led to moments of awe and wonder. Beautiful vegetation that has found a way to thrive in this desert apparatus - to defy odds and define yourself and your purpose. Majestic rock formations built over millions of years – if only those rocks could speak and share their wisdom for all willing to listen. The quiet and serenity is certainly not anything to take for granted. This tranquility did not come easily, but rather after tugging and pulling and fighting for its place here on this Earth.

Hiking down the mountain, the weather gods were kind to us. Trading out the forecasted 105 degrees, we instead hiked among mixed clouds and mountain shade, proving temps closer to the high 70’s/ low 80’s alongside a friendly breeze coming and going at all the right moments.

Reaching the plateau of Horseshoe Mesa wasn’t just relieving on my toes being scrunched from the constant downhill hike, it was invigorating to be able to look both up and down and see just how far we had come. My mind already in a new state, I couldn’t event remember how to think like my previous self and we still had to make our way back up the mountain!!

Standing on this plateau and reflecting, you were given two options (yet, really only one if we are being honest): We could relax and let loose killing time, looking around and evading the obvious challenge ahead, and play back into our desires for ease and comfort, OR, we could get excited for the challenge ahead and face it head on. Too many times we try to avoid the difficult at all costs, even when it is inevitable – after all, we didn’t have a choice but to make it back up to the top of the mountain(!) so why make it any more daunting than necessary? We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, that was confirmed by the hike down, but the sure fact of knowing what an accomplishment this would be, once said and done, that was all the motivation I needed.

For the next two+ hours hiking back up, all you saw was a constant inclined path. There was no way around it, this was going to be an uphill battle in every sense of the saying. The physical was apparent, but the mental and emotional battles – to not get discouraged when turning the bend to yet another monstrous incline with no end in sight, to fight the urge to take a break and lose momentum, to not take for granted where you are and what you are doing and more importantly the larger mind, body, and soul journey you embarked upon. Every time I felt I could not push another step upward, I would look upon the canyon, reflect upon the passage, and push on. There were so many check points to mark off as we retraced our steps up, each one refilling our energy levels just enough to keep one foot in front of the other. Against all odds, we gracefully huffed and puffed our way through the last stretch of this amazing challenge, each step seemingly heavier and more forceful than the last. Where did this newfound energy come from? It was as though knowing we were succeeding had unleashed the last set of boosters to push us over the finish line.

As I had originally anticipated, this accomplishment was life changing. The journey down only really came to life when being able to sit back on top of that canyon and reflect on the physical space we had covered. 5 miles down, 5 miles and 200 excruciating floors up = 10 miles of life changing experience that will forever shape how I think and see my world moving forward. My biggest challenges will always be based on the mental, emotional, and physical restraints that I allow to be placed on me and what choices I make, what steps I take, to overcome them.

Later that evening, after a much-needed time of rejuvenation, we made our way back to the canyon for sunset. It was Golden Hour and the canyon reflected every shade of beautify possible. Every crevice came alive again, sharing its wisdom to all willing to take in the sights. As we settled into our sunset spot, the setting sun reflected such light into the rocky mountains surrounding us, making each rock and stone illuminate all of its power and glory. It was completely awing to watch this canyon come alive to its peak. It spoke to you in a language you didn’t know you needed and you couldn’t learn it fast enough.

With its last breath of daylight, the canyon whispered of purples and reds, playing with the clouds overhead. From one sublime end to the other, we breathed in every ounce of life this sunset had to offer. I reflected on the amazing day that had somehow come and gone so quickly, and cherished every moment I had with My Love, in this life changing place, knowing now that this trip has defined who I will be moving forward, adding another ridge, layer, and color to that which is my life.

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Arsenio Baca
Arsenio Baca
Sep 06, 2019

The Grand Canyon has turned out to be a pivotal access point for me. I always seem to travel there at critical moments in my own life. Being there this time with someone who has truly touched my life in a special way and being able to share the experience of this awe-inspiring place with her was even more definitive an experience for me than the ones before. Like Kristen so eloquently puts it this place truly peels back the layers, ridges, and colors of our own lives and reveals our own inner-selves to ourselves in the process. The magic of this place goes far deeper than the picturesque landscape and views, it digs into your soul and asks you…

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