STOP!

The sun had risen several hours ago, but only recently begun to peek over the canyon rim. Save for a brief nap, I’d been hiking since late yesterday afternoon. The end was nearly in sight, I had already passed the 3-mile rest house and was fast approaching the 1.5-mile rest house. From somewhere I had found my final wind, ready to be at the top, ready to stop without the pressing need to keep moving, and aided by my trekking poles I was making better than 20 minute miles.

I approached the elbow of yet another switchback. Head down, I was watching my feet and the trail, paying little attention to my surroundings in that moment when all of a sudden I heard a woman yelling just ahead.

“Stop, STOP! STOP!!!” She cried, poking her head around the corner and waving her arms.

My mind started to race. “Is it a bear,” I wondered. Do they even have bears around the Grand Canyon? I didn’t know.

“Oh, or maybe a rattlesnake,” I thought, remembering an info nugget given over the PA by the bus driver who dropped me off two days before.

I recalled, too, seeing a sign about mountain lion territory, though I didn’t dare hope for such a rarity. As I put one more foot down to slow my momentum I saw briefly around the corner. There in the morning sun, illuminated, I glimpsed a rising half-moon.

Looking relieved I’d come to a halt the woman stated, more calmly, “She’s peeing.”

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Sunrise over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, looking north

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