By Caitlin Kelly
I’m back in Tucson again — after a 5.5 hour drive from Grand Canyon: 90 minutes south to Flagstaff; two hours south to Phoenix then another two hours southeast to Tucson, to rejoin Jose and the NYT Institute students and staff for fond farewells tonight and the final banquet tomorrow.
So this post is just a quick hello and a place-holder.
I’ll put up a few detailed posts from the three days I spent alone there, with lots of photos. (Even Jose said ‘Wow!”, nice praise from a pro photo editor.)
It was a fantastic time, a badly-needed break from the daily stranglehold of the computer and the cellphone and the telephone and the daily newspaper. It was such a relief to not have to talk to anyone, or listen to anyone, or look at anyone. To not have to be polite or cheerful or attentive.
To not pitch editors or follow up or come up with any ideas or write or revise, (or cook, shop or clean.)
To be alone, and self-reliant and have to figure it all out by myself, without the protective help of my lovely husband. To remember how to be a woman out there, solo, in the wider world.
To just be.
I had no idea what was happening in the rest of the world — even though (sigh) there are newspaper boxes with daily papers all over the Park.
All that mattered was making sure I could put up my tent alone (yes) and not lock my keys in the car (no.) I ate out of the cooler I borrowed from a local friend and went to sleep early; it was dark by 7:30 p.m.
All those stars!
The injury — gah! — was self-inflicted when I was putting up the tent for the first time ever, and barefoot and filthy, jammed a tent peg into the middle of the bottom of my left foot.
Thank heaven I had a bottle of water to wash off the dirt, and soap and antiseptic cream and a bandage. But, just in case, I went to the clinic…and they wisely gave me a tetanus shot. No puncture, no stitches, just a nasty scrape.
So much for all the hiking I had planned!
Tomorrow morning at 8:00 am, I head off for a two-hour private horseback ride. Perfect way to end a fantastic vacation; we fly home to New York on Sunday.
Here’s a pic of me on the Bright Angel Trail, taken by a man with his daughter who — of course! — turned out to live all of 20 minutes’ drive away from my home in New York.