A Thanksgiving to be Thankful For

We rose with the sun, packed our gear and climbed our way down the rock strewn shoreline. The pace was as slow as it had been the day prior but we were encouraged by the fact that we had only about a mile or so of the shoreline left until we reached Kanab Canyon where we could leave the river and head out of the Grand Canyon for our third and final time. Not long after we started boulder hopping I heard the splash of an oar in the water and a voice that called out, “would you like a ride?” I responded, “we don’t have far to go, but we would love to get off these rocks!” A yellow raft floated in view from behind the bushes and pulled up near the stone ledge where I stood. Several other rafts followed and we each happily jumped into a boat. As we settled in and exchanged introductions we were handed oranges, breakfast burritos and beers. I immediately devoured the eggs, bacon and potatoes wrapped in a tortilla and washed it down with a cold PBR while constantly thanking the group and exclaiming how amazing it all tasted.

All too soon our side canyon appeared and the rafts pulled up to a beach to drop us off. As we jumped back onto the sand they began tossing us more beer and asking what else they could give us. We could not believe the timing of this amazing trail magic as our almost empty food bags were quickly refilled with a feast. We couldn't say “no” to anything they offered and when we finally waved goodbye as they floated down the river we were left with a pile of goodies on the beach at our feet. We giggled and danced around as we gathered the cans, fruits and packaged treasures. We moved to a warm spot in the sand and decided how to start on our thanksgiving breakfast. We heated sausages and canned potatoes in our stove while snacking on string cheese. I slurped sweet juice off of my fingers as I peeled oranges and savored each segment with my eyes closed and a smile on my face. When our bellies were full and our heads a bit light from the beer we gathered up the remaining gifts and began our hike away from the river.

Our spirits and energy levels were high as we walked in the cold water of Kanab creek most of the afternoon. We marveled at the beauty of this large side canyon and although our feet were wet, we were happy for the constant water source and the vibrant life that flourished in the wet environment. Our guide book had warned that this canyon was prone to flash floods that could be triggered from storms miles and miles from where we hiked. Although the skies were clear we knew better than to make our camp in the canyon floor. As the sun dipped below the horizon we climbed a shrub choked ledge to try and find a safe and suitable spot for the night. The ledge was covered with rocks and boulders of all sizes that fell from the towering cliff walls above and sharp cactus filled any spot that was not mounded with stone. We searched the length of the ledge until our headlamps were required to see and could not find an even semi flat spot that would be safe from the crumbling rock overhead. With no other options we climbed back down the ledge to the canyon floor below and continued our way up the creek. After a few more twists in the canyon we found another high ledge to search. This spot was perfect with many flat areas to choose from and we happily set up our tarp. After feasting on more of the gifted goodies from our now stuffed food bags we settled in for the night and closed our eyes.

Time and time again U have been provided with exactly what was needed most while hiking, and this day was no exception. That is how trail magic works.