2019 Fall Gateway


By Nicole Anderson

The muddy water rushed through the heart of the canyon

creating waves sometimes four, five feet deep.

The walls, cut deep from eons of wind and rain created

a canyon so deep and desolate that few will experience

it from its heart.

I stood on the plateau, my family's luggage draped in

black garbage bags in hopes of keeping it dry as I watched

a black storm cloud bubble up in the distance against the

azure blue sky. The golden hues of the canyon seemed to

soften as the storm rolled in and the heat of the arid desert

seemed to cool, if only for a moment. A chill rushed

through my body as I reached for my tattered and wellloved

flannel shirt for warmth.

We had walked several miles down into the depths of

the canyon. The trail was wide with the occasional sagebrush

or boulder holding its place boldly in the midst of

the stark canyon. We sang songs and chased lizards, always

making sure to stay hydrated, and when we heard the

rumbling of the mule train in the distance we quickly scurried

to the wall as if to bolt ourselves to it for our protection.

The mules – at least ten per train – strode past us at a

very quick speed, the dirt swirled in the air left us covered

in dusty powder, as if we were celebrating the Holi Festival,

signifying the arrival of something new.

My children were 13, 10, and 8 years young at the time

and were excited to be on such a grand adventure that had

been months in the making. Strangers and friends alike repeatedly

asked me, “What kind of mother takes her children

to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?”

Was it so much of an oddity that I wanted my children to

experience an untouched world? A place where few people

travel? A place where nature and wild still collide and yet

find peace with one another? I didn’t think so, but the unsolicited

comments kept rolling in, much like a rock careening

down the canyon. My favorite comment perhaps

any kind. The nearest upstream bend is a gate

~ Edward Abbey

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 31

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