Tomorrow after work I leave to go home, and early Tuesday morning we fly out to Las Vegas, to drive to Arizona for a week of hiking and backpacking in Zion and the Grand Canyon. Last night Jared came over and brought 5 bottles of wine. After we had taken care of a few of those, during a talk with Mike I finally admitted how afraid I am. Terrified, really.
I’m generally a very capable person. I can handle a lot, I’m strong, and I have faith in myself and my abilities. I’m also the first person to be honest about my limitations, and guys, I do NOT handle heat well. My pitiful ginger body has a difficult time regulating temperature. Sometimes if I get too much sun at the beach, I’ll vomit and have sun-sickness for a couple days. And that’s just the beach. Things that I would normally be fine at become impossible in 90 degree weather, let alone 120 degree.
I’m scared. I’ve trained, but I’m scared that it’s not enough and that I won’t be able to do it. There is no easy way out. If I get 5 miles down or 5 miles up and realize I can’t do it, I can’t just call an Uber to come get me. There’s no quit button. Everything at the Phantom Ranch has to be carried down by mules. The NPS, on average, has to rescue someone every day, hundreds of people a year. In 2004, a 24 year old woman who had just finished 31st in the Boston Marathon weeks earlier, died of heat exhaustion on the trails. I can’t even run a marathon. If I had to be rescued by a mule or a helicopter, my dad would probably never speak to me again.
I realize that people a lot older than me and a lot younger than me make the trip every year. It’s difficult, but the majority of them are fine. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m grateful. I’m not sure if being weak makes me scared, or being scared makes me weak.