more realit)’ suppressants.rn”There are eight bilhon people on thernphrnet,” Tom remarked from beneathrnthe water, “and here we are, the three ofrnus—alone down here.”rnWe spent a second night at Hermit,rnrose at four, cooked breakfast, and hit therntrail around six, tramping eastward acrossrnthe Tonto Platform over to MonumentrnCreek in the cool shadow of the Redwall.rnReaching Monument Creek beforernnine, we made camp under a sandstonernledge screened by acacia trees and sawgrass.rnVlicn the tents were up and thernsleeping bags unrolled inside, Tim v’entrnto the creek to pump water, while Tomrnand I wandered upstream. Two desertrnbighorns, both young rams, browsed therngrassy bench above the v’atercoiirse andrnTom discovered, under a rock, a purplishrngreen scorpion the size of a small lobster.rnSeated on a sandstone slab, we passed thernwater bottle betveen us and grinned atrnone another.rn”Being down here makes me want tornwrite,” I said. “That’s what makes it real,rnfinally,”rn”Music, playing the guitar, training,rnkicking butt oir the Tonto, wilderness,rngood food and booze, companionship—rnit’s all interrelated, eerything connectedrnup with everything else.”rn”Everything that used to be called civilization,rnyou mean.”rn”Yes. And f- — a bunch of consumerrnsocialism.”rnWe made do with a smaller swimmingrnhole that evening and lay down in the lingeringrndesert heat while tree frogs shrilledrnfrom the cliffs above the pool. Well beforernseven the next day we climbed outrnthe switchbacks up to the Tonto againrnand hiked around a nose of purple cliff tornSalt Creek. From the trail we had a viewrnof the river in the lower gorge below, runningrnred this morning, not green, afterrnthe Little Colorado had kicked in with arnload of sediment washed downstream byrnan afternoon thunderstorm the previousrnday. Salt Creek, considered a perennialrnwatercourse, at first glance appeared dry,rnto the consternation of Tim, who wasrnsening as water wallah on the trip. ButrnTom found a pool downstream, andrnTim, digging with his hands in the gravelrnwhere we had set the packs, made a reservoirrnlarge enough to supply water for thernpurifier to pump fronr.rnWe sat up under the cliff for lunch andrnafterward hiked downstream to drink ginrnin the shade of an acacia grove growingrnbetween high rock walls, before a shadowrnpassed swiftly overhead, accompanied byrnthe creak and whoosh of slow wings.rn”Chib. Did you make sure your packrnwas secured before we left camp?”rn”I thought it was.”rn”Look up there, on that ledge.”rnI looked and saw a glossy ravenrnperched with something oblong andrnbrown in his beak, as if displaying a trophy.rn”Raoul got into my package of RyrnKrisp,” I said.rnIn camp we set a Nutribar out on arnrock and waited under the overhang.rnTwo minutes later the bird made a passrnabove ftie streambed and set dov’n a fewfeetrnaway from the bar. Cocking his longrnhead, he observed us with partK openrnbeak, but made no further approach.rn”That’s a smart bird,” I said, “with arnguilt}’ conscience. He screwed with ourrnstuff—wh should we be doing him airyrnfavors? He figures that bar’s bird-bait, notrna peace offering.”rnThe raven flew off, leaving the fruit barrnuntouched, and we returned our attentionrnto the gin bottle until Tom, on arnhunch, walked quietly across to the dryrnwaterfall downstream, peered over it,rnthen beckoned me to follow him. Belowrnthe f;ill, Raoul approached upstream onrnfoot over the gravel bed, his wings liftedrnslightly away from his body and his beakrnstill partway open against the heat, sneakingrnup on camp.rnAfter supper, we sat with ftie tents uprnand our backs against the canyon wall tornwatch the flashbulbs go off along the rimrnof Hopi Point as the tourists sought torncapture the sunset, invisible to us in ourrngeologic crack below, on celluloid. Nowrnand then, when the wind was right, thernsound of the Park Service’s shuttle-busrnengines was audible from a mile out andrn4,000 feet up. Tom made a nregaphonernwith his hands and let out a roar like arngrizzly bear crossed with a catamount inrndefiance of the invisible thousands abovernus. “Work hard, play hard, practice yourrnart, enjoy life—and be ready to make thernmost of the first real opportunity you get,”rnhe concluded.rnTree frogs playing their bladder-sacsrnlike bagpipes kept us awake much of thernnight. We awoke at dawn, packed in therncamp, and hit the trail for Horn Creekrnand hidian Cardens around six. The skyrnat sunrise was a hot blue haze, but arnspringing wind cooled the air as the sunrnascended above the spin}-, gra)-greenrnTonto, Lis Temple and Wotan’s Throne,rnVishnu Temple, and the velvet gorge ofrnBright Angel Canyon. Ordinarily resentfulrneven of a rifle and daypack on myrnshoulders, I kept nry own pace in the linernof march, falling back where the footingrnfelt uncertain under the weight of the 40-rnpound pack. I caught up finally a milernout from Indian Gardens, where Tomrnand Tinr had halted to load the three-literrnbox of Franzia White Rose, the cannedrnfruit, tomatoes, asparagus, aird pastarncached beneath a pile of rocks, and wernhiked on together to the developedrncampsuit, where tourists swarmed likerndung beeties and the first mules were arrivingrnfrom Grand Canyon on die SouthrnRim. Tom turned to Tim and me in therntrail, walking backward now, wrinklingrnhis nose and grinning happily from hisrnbeard.rn”Ever noticed these people who smellrnlike chemicals and plastic instead of humanrnsweat?” he asked.rnThat evening we “ufilized” the designatedrncampsite with its ramada and picnicrntable, close by the Clivus and underrnthe watchful eye of the Park Ranger.rnWhen supper was finished, we hiked outrnto Plateau Point with what was left of thernrose and drank it overlooking Pipe CreekrnRapids while the sun went down behindrnL^ana Point and the tourists standingrnaround tried to trap it in their cameras asrnit showed itself fleetingly behveen scarvesrnof gray cloud. Many, including a party ofrnsubcontinental Indians, were foreigners,rnbut even our fellow Americans seem lessrnand less recognizable nowadays. Wernwaited until we were alone to drink thernlast of the wine together.rn”Here’s to a great trip, mates,” Tomrnsaid. “You know, it’s about this time on arnhike I get homesick and start to miss myrnwife. Then when I’ve been home a fewrndays all I can think of is getting backrndown here in the ditch again.”rnIn the night when I got up to visit thernClivus, the lights of Grand Ganonrnglared like a giant spacecraft hovering farrnabove at the verge of the mighty cliff, likernsomething in a dream. On climboutrnnext morning (4.5 trail miles, 4,000-plusrnvertical feet), with the lights extinguishedrnand the buildings barely perceptiblernagainst a lowering sky, the dream invertedrnitself, and we became in my imaginationrnthe fantasy, myth, or legend: threernisolated men struggling upward from thernbowels of the earth through the GreatrnHole, the Sipapu, as tire Hopi and Navajornbelieve the first humans did, to inheritrnthe earth and begin the world over again.rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn