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I've got a story for you...

 I’ve got a story for you ....

A couple years back, I was on an adventure vacation backpacking the Grand Canyon for 6 days with a handful of ladies. After brief introductions and pleasantries, we hit the backcountry permit office to pick up our permits and log our intended route. I was already a ball of nerves. I was the youngest on the trip by at least 10 years. I wouldn’t be able to change my clothes for a week. Our guides had stripped our packs of everything except the absolute necessities. Apparently more than 1 spare pair of underwear and socks was considered a waste of space and they tossed them in the “not on this trip” pile, but I gleefully smuggled in a 2nd pair of both when they moved on to the next pack! And the knowledge that I was “in it to win it” and was with this group for better or worse until we came out at the end of the week was screaming at me.

We snapped a few obligatory photos of the group, and the next thing I know we’re at the trail taking our first steps into our journey. The whole itinerary that day was to reach Horseshoe Mesa - a solid 4 mile hike on a steep downhill trail made by giants. Every step down was twice the height I would have preferred it to be. The trail was about 3 feet wide with one side being a sheer drop to the canyon floor. The trail was wide enough to be comfortable, but not wide enough to forget about that drop.

After a couple hours of hiking, my legs were beginning to shake and I was feeling every step down. Somehow I lost my footing and I fell. Imagine a turtle on its back and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I looked like. Of course I panicked. With thoughts racing through my head of “what will they think?” and ... “I can’t believe I’ve fallen!” I was violently pitching left and right trying to get off my back and get turned over so I could stand up.

But just as suddenly as I’d fallen, I felt a whisper to my heart .... “Calm down. Be still. Figure out where you are and adjust.” Immediately I settled down and stopped fighting to turn over. It was then that I realized I had landed on the very edge of the cliff and had I been able to turn over, I’d have gone over. I was terrified of what I had almost done. By then some of the ladies had reached me, and they helped me to my feet. After a bit of nervous laughter and joking about me almost being the first casualty of the trip, we continued our descent.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. One that I haven’t forgotten. When I let my emotions dictate my actions, I am putting myself in a precarious situation that has the potential to cause harm to myself and others.

When have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How did you handle it?