A Journey Down the Grand Canyon and Back Up Again

Ann Major posing on stairs of the Grand Canyon

I just returned from the Grand Canyon where I hiked to the bottom and back with my three grown children, brother, and husband and didn't have to be air-lifted out by helicopter. (I was told the price for such a rescue is $35,000.) I did have a fall – but no broken bones. 

Since I love to write about cowboys, and Texas, and the Southwest, the Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places. I feel so inspired after my visit there. I hate to say this – but the canyon is awesome. The first morning back home in south Texas, I didn't set my alarm. Since I got in at midnight due to airport delays, I was hoping to sleep in until 8 a.m.

But BOOM! I hit the floor running at 6:30 a.m. feeling charged. INSPIRED. Being in the canyon with my three grown children, all of whom I am proud of, was such a heady experience. When I was a young mother wondering on bad days if my three little savages would ever be responsible adults, I never dreamed that seeing them in that state could be such a profoundly fulfilling experience. 

Ann Major Son posing at Grand Canyon

Beyond the joy of being with my family, there was a spirit on the trail of people helping each other and caring for each other. This felt great, because, yes, on the trail, as in real life, there are real dangers. Twelve people die in the Grand Canyon every year. We met a delirious, exhausted young man who'd run to the bottom with no water and was determined to climb back to the rim on a trail with no water. A group convened to talk him into returning to the bottom where there was water and people to help them. Yet, on that same day, we saw people doing handstands on pebble-strewn edges with drop-offs of 2,000 feet. 

Ann Major posing with husband and grown children at Grand Canyon

Mostly it was good to see people from all over the country, and indeed the world, being friendly and cooperative, and helpful to one another. WAY TO GO!!! Being a romance writer, I loved feeling that there is still a lot of love left in the world. Especially since I, like the majority of people trudging up the trail from the bottom needed positive vibes. Because every time I looked up at the seemingly-endless switch-backs ahead leading up to the rim and realized how far I had to go, I kept asking myself: ARE YOU CRAZY? WHY DID THE HELL DID I AGREE TO THIS? DON'T YOU DARE DO THIS AGAIN!!

When I finally got to the top, I fell into a steaming hot bath tub to get ready for a dinner reservation with the family. The tub was one of those ancient, claw-footed types with high sides. When I decided I had to drag myself out of the tub and get dressed for diner – I wasn't sure I had the strength to get out. 

Dinner was a half-mile uphill, but I made it. 

Lessons learned: When you look at those rock layers that took millions of years to form, you realize how short a human life is in the scheme of things. We don't have much time – make the most of it.

View of Grand Canyon and hiker from back

I truly appreciated being able-bodied enough to make the hike at all and to have lived to complain about it.

One step at a time in the right direction will take you to amazing heights, so keep your eye on your goals. Sometimes it's great to do something out of your normal comfort zone. Don't be distracted by other people's negativity or your own. But if you are – we all have our down moments, use it as an energy source if you will. 

Trust me, at any age you can amaze yourself. 

I came home feeling profoundly inspired – to live, to love, and to write more stories set in Texas and the beautiful Southwest. 


To celebrate feeling inspired and continuing on your journey, I have re-released the bestselling Men of the West series in a box set format. These four fiery novels deal with overcoming obstacles to win a chance at a forever love. Get your copy today and become inspired!

 Men of the West: books 1–4 box set


Deep in the Heart of Texas

One of the first things to consider when writing a new book is the setting. Since my books are usually somewhat autobiographical, maybe it isn't surprising that Golden Man is set in Wimberley, Texas, a small town in the Texas Hill Country located between Austin and San Antonio.

My husband's family has had a home on Cypress Creek outside of Wimberley for over fifty years, so it's an area I've come to love. Since the family has expanded, several cousins and in-laws now have homes on the icy, emerald-green creek fed by a spring starting at Jacob's Well, which hopefully will flow over our dam for many years to come. 

Four generations have enjoyed our rope swing, dam, the music of cicadas and the family swimming hole. Of late our immediate family has celebrated Christmases at Wimberley because it is more centrally located than South Texas where I live and therefore more accessible to family members flying home to Texas. 

loungingoncypresscreek

At some point, Wimberley claimed a big piece of my soul. One of my favorite places in France is Provence - because it smells exactly like Wimberley had has limestone cliffs and sparkling rivers that remind me of the Texas Hill Country. 

I have spent so many perfect afternoons after a family picnic lying on a chaise lounge atop the green lawn beside "our" creek with an ice chest full of drinks at my side. I love to sip and read and then when I get too hot, I take a soothing dip in our idyllic swimming hole. Sometimes I float on a raft downstream to the next swimming hole, then walk or swim back. 

A day at the creek, is like going to the beach, but instead you hang out on a grassy, shady bank beneath tall cypress trees. Thus, you never get sunburned. In the evening, a lone heron flies low above the clear waters on its way to its nest. 

Maybe it isn't surprising I set one of my love scenes in Golden Man at the creek!

cypresscreek

Many family members have retired in the Texas Hill Country. Reasons to move to this part of Texas include lovely winter weather, chilly streams, hills, gorgeous wildflowers, summer float trips on those icy streams, the legendary Gruene Dance Hall, and plentiful wildlife, along with the close proximity of San Antonio and Austin. A few reasons to reconsider a move might be the summer heat and terrible flash floods that sometimes take lives, and the ever constant concerns about a plentiful future water supply. 

But it's the creek that has a hold on our family's heart. 

Golden Man - bk 4 of Men of the West series out now! Her Secret Desire

The past:
Prim and proper Jenny Zachery was the small, Texas town’s preacher’s daughter. Blade Taylor, her brother-in-law, was the local bad boy. What nobody knew was that he’d always been her secret desire.

The present:
Now she’s a widow and in trouble. Because of her, he’s come home for good.  But will she give their love a second chance?

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