Seven nights in motels/hotels. No rain. Turn up at the Grand Canyon to camp, start putting up the tent and an almighty thunderstorm explodes drenching us. Wet, wet, wet. Ten minutes after we finish, it stops.
Later on, still damp, we start cooking, using the gas hob on a bench outside our tent. Halfway through another thunderstorm explodes right above us – no seconds between lightning and thunder – and as Gonul carries on preparing pasta and veggies, I hold a bin bag above her head and above the gas hob. It’s getting dark (at 6pm) and as I hold the bag up, rain pours down my sleeve soaking my fleece. My shorts are saturated as the rain lashes both of us. My socks and shoes are swimming. Suddenly Nick calls from within the tent that there is a drip from the roof. In my sodden state I summon up every last ounce of patience to sympathise. Two minutes later he announces that he is now dressed completely rainproofed and is about to emerge from the tent. I am laughing to myself – these moments of adversity are what make the trip after all , aren’t they?
Actually, no, they are not. Previously we had arrived at Ponderosa campsite at the start of October. They have been desperate for rain – over 300 days a year without it. Year after year bone dry Octobers. Which is why their campsite is built on compacted earth. When we arrive it’s built on red mud because joy of joy the heavens have opened and rain, glorious rain, is pouring down; rivulets are tumbling through the campsite – and we need to erect our tent. By now we are really quick at doing this, but it’s still an eight man tent with plenty of poles, ties and pegs to get into place and fast as we are, we are no match for the speed of rain. Wet, wet, wet.
We are happy for the rain to come – these areas depend upon it – but why can’t it happen when we are in motels and not when we are under/erecting canvas? Why must we get wet wet wet?