Hiker surfing Bright Angel rockface. Morning, 01/29/14. My favorite photo. Certain scenes along the way made me think of surfing. If it sounds crazy, be patient. This hiker was shooting down an inclined path cut narrow into the rockface preparing to cut right at the bottom of the slope. The incline to the rear evokes a rock wave rising up from behind to shoot him forward and down into the jaws of gravity like a wave throwing surfers onto coral reefs. And like great surfers, skilled hikers map their weight and physical prowess perfectly to momentum generated by slope and surface conditions. This guy was locked-in, one with the trail. His movements gave him away as did his pace when he blew past and resumed the climb to the South Rim. At his pace, he had two… three-hours max, to go. I may as well been wearing concrete hiking boots. For the fit and skilled, hiking in Grand Canyon appears to be pure joy on a par with that experienced by surfers on the North Shore of Oahu, and accompanied by the same level of terror and wonder. Nature is no one’s loving mother. It kills us without qualms. Yet we return, again and again.

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