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The Grand Canyon, Arizona

I am heading to Phoenix and am eager to see the color green getting back into my palette. It has been over a week now that the color brown dominates my view. The desert has its beauty, but I need more vibrant colors inside my picture frame.

My horizon is of green vegetation, magnificent tall Saguaro Cactus, and ragged brown mountains rich in pigment. The clear blue skies give me the exciting feel of renewal. The contrast is so beautiful. The distant mountains have a hint of gray undertones, revealing another layer of the simple beauty of the desert, and above a sliver of the moon resting before its performance tonight.

Before I get to Gina's house, I must stop in Phoenix. I have the most exciting lunch meeting! I am meeting my friend Shari. Shari is part of my pit crew. How wonderful it is to be blessed with strong support from incredible women from home. Each one helps in her own way, making this a smooth journey for me. I love and appreciate every one of them for their strength and beauty. Thank you, Shari, Eva Marie (and of course, Norman), Mel, Kim Lori, Aimee, Wendy, Amy, Marianne, and Leda. I'm so excited to see Shari and get a hug!

In a last-minute decision, Gina and I are driving to the Grand Canyon hoping there will be cancellations at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Because this is off-season, there is always a good chance it will happen. When we arrived at Grand Canyon, we were excited to find we could get a cabin for one night, and when we get down to Phantom Ranch, we could check if they could give us another night. I'm so happy to say, we could stay for two nights.

We descended to Phantom Ranch on the South Kaibab Trail, which is an eight-mile hike. It is a cloudy day with some sun rays trying to peek out between the deep gray skies, shining a spotlight that creates drama in this already stunning place. The view all around me is absolutely breathtaking! It is a strenuous hike, but I do enjoy the challenge.

So many people are coming here repeatedly, and now I understand why they choose to make this challenging hike down and up. The beauty I had the honor to experience today is a gift I will always cherish. I'm glad I had Gina with me to share the experience.

As we got closer to the Colorado River, the giant rocks started to reveal the most beautiful hunter-green color I have ever seen. The richness of this color is so unique. I love when colors make me feel so alive!

With the opportunity to stay at the bottom and take my time exploring my surroundings, I was able to hike one of the most beautiful hikes in my life.

The hike today is to Ribbon Falls, a twelve mile hike, but all flat and easy. Walking along the stream with the sheer mountains around me with evidence of millions of years of history is thrilling. The sound of the water takes away the silence but adds a peaceful, sweet sound that I love so much.

Unfortunately, I need to give up on trying to cross the stream and get closer to the waterfall. I am not willing to risk falling into the freezing water. More and more, I am learning to let go and still be happy.

I love it so much when I have those instant connections I am experiencing on my journey. Meeting Lauren, Sandy, Chris, and Hal at the Grand Canyon is one of them. I hope our paths will cross again!

It is time to pack up and start our hike back to the rim. This time we are taking the Bright Angel trail. After crossing the bridge, I hike for a while along the Colorado River, hiking along with the stream's flow. Although the climb is strenuous, we are able to hike eleven miles in 6 1/2 hours with no stops except to go to the bathroom. It was a slow and steady hike. The fresh layer of snow makes the hike more challenging as we get higher in elevation. Then again, we are rewarded with a breathtaking and stunning view that makes this challenge so worth it!

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