Simon and Garfunkel made the phrase “slip sliding away”popular with their song of the same name in 1977.
Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away.
The East Coast has experienced the slip sliding away feeling these past few weeks with the ice-snow-more ice combo. I am fortunate to have missed some of that slippery precipatation by spending a few weeks in warmer weather on the West Coast.
But I was caught off guard to find myself slipping and sliding while tackling the South Kaibab Trail at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. My husband found out that only 3% of the 5 million annual visitors travel below the GC’s rim. We wanted to be in that prestigious 3% of course. Always up for a challenge! Why not? We can do this.
The helpful park ranger warned us that the Trail still had ice on it. At the trailhead, the warning sign suggested wearing crampons. We didn’t pack those; we don’t own them either. No need, we have our sneakers.
We start down the Trail with our pride of being counted among the special 3% and with the magnificent views as our constant companion along the way.
An older couple (they were probably our age but referring to them as “older” makes me feel younger and better) had already turned around and said they weren’t going to take the chance on the ice. Hmmm. Where is their sense of adventure? Like I said, they were old.
Soon we humbly found out what all the fuss was about: ICE! There really was ICE on this trail. The sun was out ( but not hitting this part of the Trail) and it was 65 degrees. How can there be ice? This doesn’t compute. But I couldn’t linger on that issue because I was on a very narrow, steep trail trying to manuever on ICE without crampons on my feet. We hadn’t taken the warnings seriously.
Ahead on this perilous path, we helplessly stare at a young couple each with a small child strapped to them. They are desperatly trying to navigate this treacherous stretch. She hugged the rock wall (with a child on her back); he has his hand on her butt trying to brace her while not losing his footing since he has a child strapped to his front.
I was dreadfully thinking this was not going to end well for a member of this young family. Scarey stuff. But we wait and watch. My husband offered to help but he was also afraid to let go of me. (He made the right choice and kept me upright.) They make it through so we stupidly follow. Have I mentioned there are no guide rails? Just a deep, deep canyon.
Mule trains have traversed these steep, hazardous trails since the late 1800’s. We passed several mule trains, rather they passed us. Those 4-hooved animals were sure-footed on this mess. I was panicked. Then following my second slip, I announced that I was done. “I will sit on this rock, enjoy the awesome view and eat gummy bears.”
I had only made it 1/4 mile down but I couldn’t fathom how I would get back up the icy Trail. I read that 250 people are rescued each year at the Grand Canyon. Make that 251, I predicted.
While my nimble husband continued further down into the Canyon, I paused with my water and gummy bears and the Grand Canyon. I had read the signs and had heard the ICE warnings but I hadn’t considered the consequences, like a broken leg.
This enticing Trail was a slippery slope just like sin. It lured us in. We had ignored all the warning bells and whistles. As with my sin, my prideful-self whispered that I can handle a little ICE or a second look or some hateful thoughts on and on. It is no big deal. But it is a huge deal, that is the seducing aspect of sin. As with sin, I didn’t give the consequences a fleeting thought.
A bag of gummy bears later, my husband returns from his journey. I am still waiting on my rock even though I attempted to bribe a mule-pack driver as an empty mule with my name on it walked by. (It is against their silly policy for me to hop on.)
Thankfully, going up the Trail turned out to be much easier than going down. I didn’t get down and kiss the ground once I had returned to dry, firm land but the thought crossed my mind.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV
The warnings were all around me for my own safety, just as the Holy Spirit is constantly reminding me of dangerous areas. Don’t stop at that TV channel, don’t look at that man who isn’t your husband, don’t entertain those thoughts…..All for my own safety.
Will I listen or will I slip slide away? It’s a slippery slope.
Let’s Walk Worthy!