For the last three years I’ve made it a point to do something really cool for my birthday. This year I decided to hike the Grand Canyon and cross it off my bucket list.
So, on Easter Sunday I set the alarm for 4:30am and drove 4.5 hours from the Las Vegas Strip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. And as the elevation went up and up and up, so too did the anticipation. Total, I hiked 7 miles (with about 4000 ft of elevation change) along the Bright Angel Trail. But I took plenty of time to soak up the views and atmosphere and snapped plenty of pictures. It did not disappoint.
Below are the top 3 things I took from the Grand Canyon. Two of them are simple…one is more thought provoking.
- 1. The Grand Canyon is really REALLY big. Yes, this probably sounds like the most blatantly obvious statement you’ve ever heard but you cannot possibly conceptualize just how big it is until you’re actually there. People on the trails below you look like ants and the canyon looks like it stretches forever. Absolutely beautiful and breathtaking.
- 2. The Grand Canyon is hard to hike (is that the second most blatantly obvious statement you’ve ever heard?). I was struck by how, in everything I read and all that I was given upon check-in, they were almost trying to beat it into you how difficult it was…and I finally understood why – in almost every other hike (to the top of a mountain, etc.) the hard part is going up initially at the start and the easier part is coming back on the way down. The Grand Canyon is the exact opposite. Most people hike far too deep into the canyon without having the foresight to think about how it’s going to feel coming back up. And because there’s barely any water…or shade…you’re in for a long day if you don’t prepare for it. And, trust me, it gets HOT as you start getting farther down the canyon.
- 3. The biggest thing that struck me was how happy and friendly people were. I saw hundreds of people out that day and I could count on one hand the number of people who DID NOT say “Good Morning,” “Happy Easter,” or “Hello – How Are You?” Unbelievable. How many people do this when you’re walking around the grocery store, Target or the mall? I ended up ditching my iPod and soaking up the positive juju.
I had to drive another couple hours after I finished so I really thought a lot about #3. I’ve often felt a “connection” with people who do this sort of thing. Words don’t even need to be spoken – you can see it in their eyes. For the most part, the people going down the canyon were carefully watching their steps to make sure they didn’t fall and the people going up were sucking wind and trying not to look up to see how much farther they had to go. But the look on their faces all said the same thing: “There’s no freekin’ place on earth I’d rather be than in the Grand Canyon right now.”
So, as I age gracefully into my latter years (LOL), it’s becoming clearer to me that I place far less value on THINGS than I once did – what I value now are moments and experiences. And this isn’t my push to turn you all into hikers and mountain climbers, but it is my push to make you think about what truly makes you happy.
What would make you get up in the middle of the night and drive for hours, just because it sounds like fun and you find it intrinsically enjoyable? What would it take to get you out of the tunnel-vision crazy rat race of everyday life to look up and smile and say hello to every single person who walks by you? What would you need to be doing to have the look on your face that says “there’s no freekin’ place I’d rather be than where I am right now?”
The answers to these questions are your first steps towards a Limitless Life.