I ask the Grand Canyon rancher: “What is the trail for the scaredy-cats with no heads for heights?”
Nonplussed, she sends us to the start of the Bright Angel trail.
Looks steep and scary to me.
I do not dare take in the view. Just focus on my feet.
Try to ignore the images of pitching headlong over the edge which my mind is generously supplying.
We see a zag of lightning.
Thunder hollers in the canyon.
Anxiety about heat exhaustion (it was 100 degrees when we started) is replaced by fear of being struck by lightning.
Fat plops of rain fall.
When we reach the Mile-and-a-half shelter, I am soaked. Chilly.
Three US students and a family from Amsterdam are also sheltering. We commiserate over Holland losing the World Cup.
The students have been hiking since early morning.
They witnessed a helicopter rescue for a hiker with a scorpion bite. The helicopter took six hours to arrive, the rancher two.
Not enough money, say the students. The Grand Canyon is feeling the recession.
The rain stops.
We set off on our return journey up the trail.
Miraculously, my mind is no longer furnishing scenes of disaster.
I am no longer hugging the side of the rock.
I am taking in the view. And stride. A miracle.
Time for the carrot cake’s photo-shoot (see pic above).
I baked it the night before, amalgamating and adjusting several recipes found on the web for the simplest.
Here it is before I forget it.
Whisk five small eggs (or four big ones) with 1+1/4 cups of sugar and 1+1/4 of organic coconut oil
Fold in 2 cups of organic flour and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Plus 3 cups of grated organic carrot and some cut-up raisins.
Bake in a greased loaf tin for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Insert a knife to check it is not wet when withdrawn. If wet, the cake is not sufficiently cooked.
Because of the high altitude (7,000 feet) of Flagstaff, the cake took another twenty minutes.
I concocted a separate topping of whisked organic tofu, lime juice and organic agave nectar (the un-organic kind is highly processed and not worth it).
The topping did not come with us to the Grand Canyon.
Unlike the brave carrot cake, that did.