Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Grand Canyon and my most excellent fear of heights {New Braunfels photographer}

Grand Canyon north rim Arizona, New Braunfels photographerI have a fear of heights. It's something I've fought for a few years. I've tried to deny it. But I'm going to just get that out of the way right now. I wasn't always afraid. As a child I could climb the tallest trees with no fear. I went through a brief spell when I wanted to be a tight rope walker. Standing near the edge of cliffs didn't phase me.

But something about becoming a mom changed all that. Suddenly it was scary to carry my child near a balcony railing. What if I tripped and dropped her? What if the edge of the sidewalk collapsed and we fell? Suddenly it wasn't about just me anymore, it became about this darling little piece of me and this incredible urge to protect her from harm. My fear has tripled with the addition of a couple more kiddos and now my extreme phobia is confirmed. I am terrified of high places.

As I mentioned in my last blog, our trip to the Grand Canyon's North Rim is a return from our honeymoon 15 years ago. I wasn't afraid at that time. We walked all the trails and teetered on the edge of thousand-foot drop-offs. This time we did not.

My Boy is a maker of mischief. He gets into things. He pushes the boundaries and challenges the laws of physics on a daily basis. I had extreme fear of him plummeting from the top of a drop-off into the vast wonder of nature below us. What didn't help matters was my oldest daughter's purchase of the book "Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon" which describes in excellent detail every single death in the Grand Canyon since recorded history, including all the tourists and their children who fell off the very trails we were walking. Definitely the feel-good read of the summer.

So my grip on the hand of My Boy was bruise-inducing and my eyes stayed plastered on the trail before us when I should have been photographing the vast wonder that is the Grand Canyon. I did manage to hand The Boy over to Jayme for a few moments to snap a few before snatching him back into my protective clutches.

Grand Canyon north rim Arizona, New Braunfels photographerOnce we checked out the marvelous view, it was time for us to pitch our tent and make camp. Yes, we did decide to camp out. This comes as a shock to those of you who know me. Remember the family road trips I took as a child that I told you about yesterday? Every year we took two weeks away from home driving the roads of the west. My daddy had a big book called "Free Campsites of the United States" that we carried with us. He knew about every free campsite around the country and we used them. After 18 years of primitive camp sites with snakes, mosquitoes, cold water, no toilets, and rain and snow in my sleeping bag I had had enough camping to last me a lifetime.

Grand Canyon north rim Arizona, New Braunfels photographerYet the children begged. They wanted the experience of roasting hotdogs on a fire, making s'mores and sleeping in a tent with all the night noises. What they didn't anticipate was the low of 27 degrees that night. Their spoiled little Texas toes are not used to the cold. We had planned on spending two nights in a tent at the North Rim but first thing in the morning their words "I'm ready to go to a hotel now" were like music to my ears. We packed it up and hit the road again. Next stop Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon north rim Arizona, New Braunfels photographer
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Lisa On Location Photography

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