My first major adventure without my BABYCAKES
Hiking to the bottom of the great
This trip had been planned by my niece and sister for at least 6 months. One of the girls that was supposed to go with them cancelled out about 2 week prior to leaving. It was to be a hike w/ a two night camping stay at the bottom. At first I hesitated, only because I had no desire to adventure without Robert. I almost felt that I had no business going without him, I also knew that it was going to be very difficult not only because of my weight & lack of exercise but because this was “our thing” to do. I knew exactly what he would marvel at, look for and his reaction to how we packed our backpacks or carried our water. I knew that I would hear his voice in the wind……. ANYWAY, after giving it some thought and constant encouragement from my sister and niece…….. I decided to go. (and I’m glad I did).
We started out on Wednesday night, after church…… (I knew I/we needed a lot of prayer). My thought s were of my honey, just thinking about him, and how he knew just how much I loved the canyon. At any opportunity or any occasion, he’d take me up there. It is beautiful. BUT, I was going to be there without him. What was worse, was that we’d never share the canyon, again…. Or, the motel….. Who doesn’t like to share motel with their loved one…… It was always a honeymoon; even you didn’t like each other. (another story).
The plan was that we’d get an early start, (that was a joke)…. It didn’t matter, except, had Robert been with us, we would have had an early start… we lollygagged in
OH WHAT HAS HAPPENED…….. It is still so unbelievable….
Midmorning I wanted to go look for the deer. I didn’t want to leave the canyon without seeing a deer. We went about a little walk towards the Colorado River and came across a couple looking for Big Horn Sheep, he said they had been spotted in the area, I told him we hadn’t seen any but asked them if they had seen deer. They told us, that they had seen at least 6 of them watering near the river…. So we headed that way. It was funny to me because here I am, looking for deer. (that’s exactly what Robert would be doing, actually looking for any four footed critter). We didn’t see any. I was quite disappointed. (My sister made friends with a fox). After a couple hours at the
My sister and I sat in the sunshine, enjoying the view of the many, huge cliffs. The colors were just gorgeous. Of course, the quite moments took our thoughts to Robert. I can’t express enough just how much I/we miss him. How could we rewind time? Go back to what we had. Undo what was done…. ………………….My sister mentioned him often. She still misses him as well as the rest of the family; tears are always present when we talk about me. WHAT A LOSS WE HAVE SUFFERED. We’d talk about all he taught them (family) about camping. I truly enjoyed our talk. After a couple of hours “sunning”, people started noticing two dumb Mexicans sitting on the bench laughing or crying…… it was so much fun making friends with so many other people. They would actually stop to join in on our laughter with making fun of each other (that’s what sisters do, right). We even had the Park Ranger joining in on the fun. We met people from all over this great world. I posed for an Asian man….. (maybe I’ll be featured in one of their comic books). We decided to go back to camp and get our stuff ready, hoping to leave by 6:00 a.m. While packing and getting ready for the morning, we received company. These people were “friends we met on the bench”. my sister meets strangers and right away want to play SKIPBO, so she a invited mother and daughter to come over and play “SKIPBO”. We laughed so hard telling her, “Yeah, they’re going to come play SKIPBO, with you”. Well they did…….
Time to sleep and then time to wake up and get going………My niece (who took care of Robert) was amazing. I still can’t believe how she just took over and made things happen. You’d think she was born with the talent of an outdoorsman………. She gives credit to her Tio Robert …. She’ll say that her Tio taught her all she knows about camping. I never helped Robert with the camp set up… I didn’t want to learn how to do it…… too much work. So, I’d say, “I do all the work @ home, so here @ camp, you get to do it. AND HE DID! But “Nelelee”, knew how to do it all.
As we started our early morning hike back out of the canyon, guess what we encountered…… DEER! Beautiful deer. There they were, there must have been at least eight/nine. They were watering and just watching us. They were as motionless as we were. My heart sank. I wanted so badly to holler out to Robert, to come and see them, but was afraid to scare them off. Then again, Robert wasn’t with us. I was able to get near enough to talk to them. It was great. I told them not be afraid, that Robert wasn’t with us. (my honey was a hunter). I didn’t want to leave the area; it was so much like heaven. Beautiful, serene, friendly, warm, cool, and peaceful and I felt very close to Robert. I knew we had to keep going, but it wasn’t easy. I didn’t want to leave that feeling I felt. So close, to Robert. I was in fact in his world. I thought of us looking over the canyon beyond the canyons, just imagining what we could see. I saw and felt the great beauty with the taste of heaven.
We went about our hike, crossed the bridge over the
I took us 8 hrs to climb out of the canyon. Still, very beautiful at every angle. At the canyon, there are canyons within each canyon and at every spot you can see a different beauty. Breathtaking. We did, at many points, stop for a rest, but even then, we didn’t stop marveling at God creation. That’s when we’d pull out Robert’s binoculars, to see all we can see. At this one point, I heard a chipping, which I thought was a bird. I told my sister, look for that bird that is chipping. So she pulled out the binoculars to look for the bird. Some other hikers stopped and asked what she had seen and she said, “I looking for that bird, do you hear it”? And they said, oh, that’s not a bird; it’s a squirrel (or chipmunk).
We continued climbing. We were well into our 5th hour. This was grueling and only to get worse. My niece and her friend left us behind. I really don’t think it had anything to do with age nor their fitness. I believe that my sister and I were literally enjoying the beauty. We’d meet hikers on the trail, and we’d talk. The hikers we’d meet coming down, we’d say, “enjoy it”, then we’d ask, “are WE almost there?” The ones that would hike along with us were so good to encourage us, to just keep on going and to enjoy it. So we were all pretty much with the same mind set.
About 3 ½ miles from the top it got bad. We hit the snow again. The trail’s narrower because of the snow. We were slipping and sliding and at just about a crawl. We kept on, slowly but surely. We were still enjoying the sights but really we were worried and wondering whether or not we were going to make it (Robert would have been mad for us taking such a risk). My sister was good about trying to distract us, and this one time she says, “Just think Ernestina, how many sisters have had this opportunity to do what we’re doing , together”. That was nice, but I thought, how many sisters are there that would be so stupid to do this? It was horrible, steep, icy, and slippery. I know there a couple of time I wanted just to quit. Just stop. Then I would hear my Robert say, come on Ernestina, you can do it, we are almost there…… (then I’d remember why I quit hiking with him…… he didn’t know when to stop) At one point my sister slipped. That could have been catastrophic. The trail has logs built in (preserve trail) so we had to lift our leg over to step up. This was on ice and snow. She slipped and only God prevented her from going over…. Scary. We were quiet the rest of the way……I started noticing a place where Robert and I had walked our baby girl down about a mile……. So I knew that we were pretty close but very, very difficult.
Thanks to my loving, merciful God. We made it. I experienced a touch of heaven, a place where I left Robert and beautiful memories. I was able to share many tears with him, and was left with such peace knowing that he is where he wants to be and knowing that someday, we will all be together. Not only the kids and I, but my family that still miss and mourn him. He left us all with precious memories, and I thank God for them. I’M EVEN AT A POINT THAT WHEN IM SAD, OR MISSING HIM, I JUST PRAY AND THANK GOD FOR THE YEARS HE GAVE US WITH HIM. ALTHOUGH SHORT YEARS, FOR US WHO MISS AND LOVED HIM, BUT BIGGER THAN LIFE YEARS, BECAUSE HE LIVED LIFE TO THE FULLEST WITH THOSE HE LOVED.