Our backpacks were cinched. Our water bottles were full. The walking poles were finely calibrated and our hiking boots were threaded, laced, looped, double-knotted and insured by GEICO. Now we just had to leave the hotel room and get over to the trail.

Like they say, there’s always a catch.

We were at the Grand Canyon and had arrived at the moment we had been looking forward to for so long.

Well, no, that’s not exactly true. The moment we had been looking forward to for so long was the moment we’d be finished with the hike and would be drinking a glass of Chardonnay and telling everyone we had hiked the Grand Canyon.

But there was one step before that: the actual hike, which included, apparently, many steps.

We took that first step and headed down into the abyss, immediately winning the Roget’s Thesaurus prize for using the word “abyss” in two consecutive columns.

There were other people in the abyss, though few of them were probably able to spell or define it. These were not, you could see immediately, serious hikers. They did not have technologically proficient backpacks with inflated water bladders like we had that hurt your back so much you forgot about how much your feet and knees were hurting.

But as we descended, these dilettante hikers turned back, heeding the call of the lonesome Chardonnay, particular to that region of Arizona. Or maybe they knew something.

We continued on.

The trail wound around, back and forth, back and forth, switchback after switchback, down and further down. It was getting hot but not once did we see a frozen yogurt stand.

Of course, we did not need one. We were carrying our own.

We had brought enough snacks for the entire population of the state and any New Mexicans, too, if they were visiting. In addition to the frozen yogurt, we had an assortment of chips, including chocolate and silicon. We had three varieties of trail mix, in case the trail needed something to eat.

After hiking for what seemed like hours — and which, in fact, was hours — we came to a rest house on the trail. It seemed like a good place to rest.

At the rest house, we gathered up our strength, which was scattered, exhausted, on the side of the trail among the sagebrush and pinyon pines, and began hiking up.

After hiking up for what seemed like hours — but which, in fact, was minutes — we determined that hiking up was far more challenging than hiking down. We decided to take the elevator, but found out it didn’t stop at our floor.

We kept going. A guy in sneakers, going uphill, running fast, passed us. We were not amused.

Several hours later, breathing heavily, we emerged at the rim of the Grand Canyon, having ascended thousands of feet, accomplished and proud, creaky and exhausted.

We headed directly for the next bottle of Chardonnay.

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