Conquering the Canyon

There he is — Canyon Man at it again. May at the Barker house means another Grand Canyon expedition for Don. For many years now when the spring semester is over, he’s been leading groups of college students on the trip of a lifetime — a field biology course to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

No, they don’t go down on the mules or on the trails where you’re likely to see other hikers or park rangers. They do it the hard core way. They pack for a three night stay, filter water where it can be found, and hike out — exhausted, hungry, and sometimes injured. Even though I enjoy hiking, I’ve never attempted this adventure. I know my limitations. If I did go, I would probably fall into the “sometimes injured” category :)

This year they did something new — something they’ll probably never do again after finding out how difficult it was. Instead of hiking in and out on the same trail, they hiked down one trail and then trekked several miles each day to make it to the trail they would hike out on. In fact, they hiked over 14 miles on the day the above picture was taken — Don’s 55th birthday. What a way to celebrate, huh? And by the way, he’s much older than I am :)

The thing about the Canyon? You can’t really change your mind once you’re at the bottom. You’ve got to get yourself out. The planned hike for Don’s group this year was a killer, but they did it. They persevered, even though at one point they lost the trail (Don thought, “oh great — I’m gonna die in the Canyon on my birthday!). He even developed huge blisters on his feet, but he pressed on. Others, I’m sure, had their own personal challenges. They didn’t give up, though. They conquered the Canyon.

Are you facing a killer challenge? Or maybe you’re in a race you’re tired of running? Let Canyon Man be an inspiration to you. Persevere and conquer your canyon!

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b


  1. Awesome picture!!

    I can say from my one experience hiking the canyon with Dad, that it is a super difficult challenge, and I’m always amazed at how Dad can hike the Canyon over and over. Pretty awesome hobby, Dad! :)

    (Maybe Shawn and I can come and hike with you some day soon if you’re still up for more Canyon hiking!)

  2. Kristin, I’m amazed, too. He has already told the students that he would go back as long as they didn’t do this particular hike again. I’m just hoping he realizes when it IS time to give it up. By the way, he has lost two toenails since he got home — good grief! :)

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