‘Here I am once again roaring drunk with lust of life and adventure. Not all of my days are as wild as this though each holds its surprises, and I have seen almost more beauty than I can bare.’
– Everett Ruess
Everyone has their few favourite quotes which make them smile with warmth of a memory. I first heard this quote a couple of years ago while in America. I was travelling from New York to Los Angeles with a company called TrekAmerica (look them up, they’re unreal!) and we had arrived at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
I wasn’t feeling too great and hadn’t eaten for a couple of days (possibly a side effect from the hundreds of McDonalds I’d consumed on the way there), however, we were all going to trek down the Grand Canyon, and this wasn’t an experience I was about to miss! The way down only took a breezy 2 hours, easy, my grandma could do this.
At the bottom we cooled down at a plateau where we took in some amazing sights, the sheer size of this natural wonder is just incredible, something that can’t be portrayed in a photo or explained in enough detail. After a few hours of gawping at the view we decided to make our way back up to camp. Looking up I knew that this wouldn’t be a quick 2 hours and in fact it’d probably be best if I left grandma at home with some knitting.
I wouldn’t say I was grossly unfit, but I’m not exactly ready to do a marathon or appear on Gladiators, so the thought of another few hours walking made my heart drop. Soon after we started walking we all split up a bit, I ended up on my own, and soon realised that I’d only packed one orange in my snack bag, half of which I’d already eaten, rookie error!
Starving and thirsty I stopped off at a rest stop, and mustered the courage to ask a man next to me whether I could pretty please have one of his snacks, (he had a huge bag full) sharing is caring after all. He was actually incredibly interesting and had been following Obama around the country, listening to his speeches and writing for various political publications…making friends all over the world
4 hours later, after tailing a group of french children who sang Disney songs incessantly, I reached the top, a broken woman. The redeeming moment of this experience, was returning to the camp and listening to everyone else’s Grand Canyon adventures, and hearing Raine, our trek leader, recite this quote from Ruess.
Ruess, an artist, poet and writer had spent his days exploring the wilds of America. Unfortunately, his sense of adventure had lead to an early demise in 1934. His remains have never been found, so maybe he’s still hitchhiking his way around the deserts of America, what a romantic thought.
That day I’d had my own Ruess-esque adventure and ended up drunk with lust of life (and tequila).