By Yvonne Babb.
Time is of the essence. We leave in one week for the deep spectacular 7th wonder of the world: the Grand Canyon. Wheeling Geoff into this wild place was not written in the vows mind you, but neither was his stroke. So here we are surrounded once again by the community which I don’t think of as the result of a stroke of misfortune, but as a stroke of adventure and opportunity. The living room is filling with all sorts of goodies from community supporters and sponsors who I want to thank for pitching in.
Hydroflask was the first, donating fifteen 40 ounce super wonderful water/whatever bottles that keep things hot or cold for the trip. Then yesterday, our fire-fighter friend Amy Kazmier brought donations from Redmond local Straw Propeller that include collapsible bowls and cups to hold our Berry Blitz instant gourmet oatmeal. Base Camp Manager Barb Scott picked up 90 Picky Bars, donated to to energize us on the trail. Strictly Organic Coffee will supply our caffeine and we look forward to salami and cheese on the trail compliments of Primal Cuts. Dale Neubauer, from Blue Moon Designs shows up regularly to design, test and redesign newer and more fabulous versions of the off-road Advenchair that will get us to the bottom and back out again. (Dale is a helicopter mechanic who makes cool ladders for working on helicopters.) Gary Crosswhite from Sagebrush Cycles adds fat tires, brakes and assorted stuff on his own time and at the shop to get us ready for the trip. Dave Taylor, the wheelchair guy, comes by to make adjustments and give suggestions.
We're blown away by the support we've received trough GoFundMe: A donation this week from the Redmond St. Charles Hospital Medical Staff pushed us over $7,000! Thank you all!
We build community when friends join us on our training hikes and we build community within the team when we choose our routes, problem solve, and figure out the next tweak to the chair. Just training for the Grand canyon has grown and strengthened our community.
We are so grateful, so humbled and will take each step with gratitude and love. Courage, well, we may need to dig that out of our packs or close our eyes—well maybe not. Last weekend, on our training hike at Mt. Bachelor, team member Pat Addabbo from Oregon Adaptive Sports observed “We are all huffing and puffing up these steep slopes and if we want to make it we need to pace ourselves and go slower”.
Hence the trudge, one step at a time..
Six foot four Emory, with head down pushing us up fifty degree angles with Heike and I as sidewalkers pulling on webbing attached to the chair and Cory as pace-setter AKA mule #1. Mule #1 is hooked by fiberglass poles from Ski Pulk in Minnesota that are attached to a harness.
We did it! We climbed 1500 feet in 2.5 miles up to Pine Marten Lodge in 2.5 hours, snarffed down food, snacks and coffee, and descended - all within 5 hours. Now if we do that twice, we can do Bright Angel Trail.
But no more reminiscing, it's back to packing, sorting, sifting, taking breaks to make gratitude apple pies. More sorting, more details and lists. We get up every day and make a list and move onward, one step at a time. Have you ever seen a manatee? They move really slooowwww. . . . Sometimes life is so fast, I need the slowness of Geoff to slow me down…in a good way.
That will be us, stepping slowly and present as we move onward. Like the Grand Canyon, sometimes, we need to drop to a really low point in our lives to only turn around and see that there is a small branch to hang onto. Or perhaps it is a faint trail leading us out of the low dark spot into the light. The moon will guide us on the climb out of the canyon as we muster our inner courage to hold each other up and stay on the trail toward another grand tomorrow. It is all because others held us up, surrounded us with love and helped us see the light in each day. Much love to you all.
- Yvonne, that loud, laughing Sherpa who will try to stay quiet and focused on the trail.