For some reason, I’ve been thinking about a camping trip I took with my high school science club. I don’t remember which year of high school it was. I think we had three boys and three girls, along with our chemistry/physics teacher as a chaperone.

We hiked the Grand Canyon and camped for a few days at the Havasupai Campgrounds. It’s an area that is part of the Havasupai tribe’s reservation, and the small village of Supai hosts its own post office. (At least, it did back in the late 1980s.)

It’s not a memory that comes up often, mostly because I can’t really believe that we carried packs and hiked all that way down and back. It seems surreal to think that I was, at one point in my life, adventurous enough to hike and camp in the Grand Canyon. It’s certainly not something I’d be able to do now. Nor do I think I’d enjoy the experience.

And, truth be told, the memories of that trip aren’t always positive ones. I had a mishap where I lost my footing and battled some currents in a swimming hole. I’m not a strong swimmer, and that experience scared me. A lot.

In fact, it scared me so badly that when the rest of our group climbed the chain ladder to get down to the bottom of Mooney Falls, I decided to stay in camp. One of the other girls, Elysa, stayed with me, and we spent the afternoon talking. I think Elysa may have also gone swimming, but I stayed out of that swimming hole the second time.

I also don’t think about the camping trip often because I’m still ashamed that I didn’t make it out of the canyon unaided.

I don’t recall how far we were from the top, but I vividly remember that Elysa and I simply ran out of steam. We were tired, and our feet were covered in blisters that had popped. We sat just of the trail drinking water and eating some protein, in hopes of finding enough reserve energy to finish hauling our gear out of the canyon. But we didn’t.

Our teacher asked two of the boys to come back and carry our packs out so we could finish. That helped, but we both were completely drained when we finally made it back to the van.

As best as I can remember, we both fell asleep, and our friends and teacher had a hell of a time rousing us when we stopped for food and gas.

I think those old memories have been surfacing because I’m at a point where I feel like I’ve overcommitted myself. I’m stubborn, but I think I’m in a position where I need to cut back on some of the things I’m trying to do.

And, I need to be better about asking for help. It’s not something my pride lets me do often, but I really should stop letting my ego make the decisions. I’d also like to be more assertive and say no when asked to take on tasks that I know I can’t handle.

(A photo of Havasu Falls by Evan Sanchez on Unsplash)

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