|On the Grand Canyon Rim Trail|
I was doing so well that first morning. I had camped outside the national park to reduce the stress of finding a place to stay in it after dark. I got up right on time, took Maeve for a walk around the whole campground, and headed into Grand Canyon National Park. It was fairly early in the season and I was shocked by how many people were there. Maeve started alerting me when I was talking to a ranger at the visitor center, not that I understood her at first, and I started to crash. I wanted to pick up and drive anywhere other than the Grand Canyon, right away. Instead I went into self-care mode and recalled some lessons I've learned along the way.
Lesson One: Take Time OutThe Grand Canyon was right there … right behind the visitor center, but I couldn't get a glimpse until hours later. I went back to my safe place, my campervan, to regroup. I fed myself, read about easy hikes and bike rides I could do, and I gave myself time to come down from the stress.
If I wasn't feeling well due to the weekday crowd, I probably shouldn't force myself to handle the weekend horde. I moved to the less crowded east side of the park for the weekend.
Lesson Three: Discretion is the Better Part of Valor
|Chinese lion representation|
I hiked or biked nearly the entire Grand Canyon rim trail, Maeve posed for close to a hundred pictures (mostly taken by Asian tourists who mentioned that she looked like a lion), we hiked part of the south rim that is not usually hiked by tourists, and we got great pictures (see our Grand Canyon Photos). We also educated a number of people about psychiatric service dogs. We saw much of the more remote North Rim too. Even though I had to take a few days off, I actually got to hike below the canyon rim at Bryce Canyon for the first time. I was so happy! We did three hikes into and back up to the rim of Bryce Canyon.
Result: A Great Visit
P.S.: the staff of the Grand Canyon did fine on the service dog issue.
Lion photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Vassil