Here I am at Mather Point, Grand Canyon, the day before our hike down South Kaibob Trail! I am still fundraising for this worthy cause, but made the tallies for this year's hike-thanks to you!
I had never been to the Grand Canyon and when I saw it, I said to myself, "Georgia, you must be out of your mind-you are 62, have a cyst on your lumbar 5 and are probably one of the older ones in this crowd--what WERE you thinking!!!"
I knew the Grand Canyon was big and really deep--I mean, all you saw were vistas of more and more Canyon and deep deep layered colors.
When I first got there, I couldn't fathom the 6,000 foot elevation drops down to the river (we didn't go that far), but we did descend 4,600+ feet of elevation starting at 6:30 am on April 30 (woke up at an unGodly 4:30 am to make our sandwiches in 22 degree weather!)
We trekked all the way out to Skeleton Point, stopping at Coyote Ridge for a break, ate lunch, sitting on the edge of a cliff looking down at the Colorado River, and then came right back up after a 30-minute lunch break and several shot blocks and hydration moments!
The trick is to train, of course, which we did for 5 months with wonderful friends and team members all over the Bay Area, the last one being climbing Mt. Diablo -- but the other trick is that----like life----most of the time you need to pay attention to what is right in front of you, and where you are stepping.
Only occasionally do you stop to take a look at the top and where you are going!! If you do it too often, it overwhelms you! And when you do look up - you need to stop walking, or, you'll fall right over! Perspective is a good thing - but only occasionally when climbing a canyon!!
Like life, too, you have to be prepared. There is no water in this canyon, so we had to carry 120 ounces of water and food-eating all the time you climb -- a rule.
We had to have hiking boots -- there were actually a lot of really foolish folks prancing down at the beginning in light weight tennis shoes and no packs!!
One obviously seasoned fellow coming up, was telling his friend in a very funny and sarcastic tone-- sort of a Chicago-type humor, "You know the tourists, when you see them coming down the Chimney (start of South Kaibob) in Flip Flops and Coke Cans!!" That made me laugh, because the image was unfathomable!
Walking poles are a must and give you stability like the steady hand of a friend. They assist you when you are doing down, creating a stable anchor taking pressure off your knees and they certainly help you up that steep return.
I have exercise asthma, which I control very well, but being mindful of hydration, covering my face with my bandana and protecting my lungs from the sand blowing in the wind, moved me steadily up as I followed trusty Jolene Saenz's feet in front of me. She doesn't know this but her heels were my focal point.
[Thanks, Jolene, who was one of my hiking buddies on our team 'The Scorpions'! (I didn't name us, really!)]
The important thing here IS... the number of at-risk familes in Contra Costa County (a very prosperous county) is that the numbers have doubled in three years. There are now 6,000 of these families, many of whom work and many of whom, in fact, are your local cashiers, some teachers, some are postal workers, some of retail people, office workers -- all with some bad luck, or, health issues, or being laid off have put them in the position of homelessness! It is not the stereotypical 'derelict'' that we think a homeless person is.
It could be anyone:
While down at the Grand Canyon, I purchased something at the General Store and started talking to the clerk -- who liked my hat -- in fact, lots of people liked that hat -- and when I told him what I was doing, he told me he had been homeless, too!!!!! So none of us are immune.
Next time you buy two lattes or cappucinos, or go to the movies, which I love just as much as you do, then maybe think about how that $10 could be promised to Shelter, Inc. to help someone find a home permanently and give their child a chance.
Shelter, Inc.'s success rate is very high - between 80 - 98% never return to the streets.
So that $10 or $30 could help someone -- who knows, it could even be a neighbor who won't say anything, because they are just too proud.
I love each and every one of you for helping and continuing to help. What we bring into the lives of others, we bring into our own...remember that, please.
Blessings to you, Georgia Stathis
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Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!