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.
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.
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.
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!