Beware. Hikers at Large

We were in the Grand Canyon this week. In, rather than at, because we didn?t just get off our coach, have a wee, take a photo and whistle through our teeth at the grandeur of it all, before getting back on. Actually we weren?t on a coach at all, we were in a Chrysler Sebring which has about the same acceleration pick-up as a coach. Well almost.


There?s a couple of trails down and we chose the easier, planning to walk about a mile and a half into the Canyon and then begin the steep climb back up. I prefer to say walk rather than hike, because hike has a rather negative connotation to me, suggesting British ramblers and Girl Guide camp. Rambling girl guides are a bit of a nightmare.

We don?t dress like hikey people either and certainly wouldn?t be seen dead with those pointy ski sticks that are supposed to give you a better footing on the way back. My exception would be if the pointy ski sticks actually caused our death by being stuck into our hearts in a tragic and senseless double murder. Maybe the sticks aren?t really for stability, maybe they?re to ward off roaming Grand Canyon rebels or vicious animals such as gophers or chipmunks. I jest, apparently there are mountain lions in the Canyon and the ?famous? pink rattlesnake. Must be a bit embarrassing to be a pink rattlesnake, not terribly threatening and probably teased by the other rattlers. ?Ooh, love the cerise, what you got in your tail, a feather??. As a result, the pink rattlesnake is probably the most vicious of them all and carries a sub-machine gun.

I did find the Grand Canyon to be rather un-American, mainly because it wasn?t paved and lacked any kind of hand rail. Where the heck are our taxes going? It was actually quite exhilerating to stand right on the very edge and look down and imagine jumping off. It?s not that I?m suicidal, I just had that weird sensation that draws you towards something highly dangerous. Like when a train approaches and you?re hypnotically lured to the edge of the platform or when you?re on a ship staring into the sea and have to step back from the rails because your brain?s imagining what it?d be like to be caught in the propeller. Just me? I think not.

Obviously I didn?t jump, but I did recklessly hurl a few rocks from the edge, just to watch them disappear into the abyss. Probably not wise as the trail twists and turns below us and I may have hit a few unsuspecting hikers, whose sticks would afford little protection. But I still think they’d prefer this to being shot by a disgruntled rattlesnake.