The Ridges of the Mountains

Naiya Cartwright

© Copyright 2020 by Naiya Cartwright

Photo of Naiya and brother Isaiah.

Welcome to one of my first pieces of writing. It has been an amazing time writing this story, which has brought back many memories that I wish to remember. My journey in writing started many years ago when I was a child where I developed this story being told here. This story gives an insight into what happened in my journey to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.

The first time I saw the rigid, majestic, colorful rocks, I knew that’s where I felt a calmness I have never experienced. I snatched a Poptart from the pantry and a frozen water from the freezer and headed out to the 2004 camo green jeep, where I saw my sweaty 2-year-old brother Isaiah, already placed in his car seat. Did I mention it was a 98 degrees summer day in Las Vegas? My dad and I took off the roof off the jeep wrangler last night in preparation for the trip but it only came off on the backseat area, meaning the front seat driver, passenger and the trunk still had the roof on, we tried to take off the doors but the hinges weren’t budging. I leaped in and turned the air conditioning on as I waited for my step mom and dad to get our dog Dyna, a gray-haired pit bull. Our bags were packed with dog food, snacks, baby toys, diapers, and water. Clothes forgotten in the unkept closet that we all shared in our tiny one-story house. As we hauled away from the driveway all I could think about was how amazing this experience would be, and that we left our other dog, Lil dog because she would have been too crazy for the trip.

The first 10 minutes went without issue. Music blared throughout the whole car, windows were rolled all the way down, with the view of the bright beautiful sky above, Dyna was in the back where I could occasionally give her comforting pats on her head, Isaiah looked out of the window and played with his toy motorcycle. My dad and step mom were having a conversation as we let the breeze flow through our hair. 3 hours went by, when I felt a light drop of water fall on my forehead, I look up and noticed the sky had turned cloudy and gray. It started sprinkling, this would have been fine because rain is my favorite weather but there was no roof on the jeep so the rain was falling inside the car. My first thought was this is amazing! the cold rain felt so nice since we were just in boiling weather. Until it started pouring and everyone was getting upset about Isaiah getting wet and how he could catch a cold. I pulled out his jacket from one of the drenched bags sitting beside me and threw it on him. Isaiah didn’t seem to have any idea what was happening, and didn’t mind either. I didn’t bring a jacket because it was hot in Las Vegas and I didn’t expect the weather to have such a drastic change, so my step mom gave me hers.

It continued to rain for more than 10 minutes until it finally stopped. Isaiah was insisting on having a snack so I reached my hand into the food bag, still wet on the outside from the rain and grabbed his favorite chips, Cheetos. He jammed the thick cheesy Cheeto into his mouth, spilling all over his clothes and face. We pulled off of the highway and drove into the first food place anyone saw. I gave my order to my step mom and dad as they ran into the Subway to make the order. We sat in the parking lot for a while as we were in no rush, lunch was in silence as we enjoyed our food, and my step mom fed Isaiah bits of her sandwich. We got back on the road again and the view stayed the same for a while, a mountain landscape many, many mountains. By the time I opened my eyes again, Isaiah was passed out in his car seat drooling over the new clothes he was put into after his diaper change.

The sun would soon start setting since it was 4:30pm, It still looked like we didn’t drive anywhere from those last 2 hours because the scenery stayed stationary. I clicked on some music from my phone and closed my eyes again. I squinted my eyes open, and looked to my left to see Isaiah’s wide eyes and staring at me, as if he was waiting for me to wake up so he could continue his gibberish conversation. How long have I been sleeping? I tapped my phone, 5:15 flashed brightly on my screen. “How far are we from the Grand Canyon?” I said a little disoriented, as I thought It would have been dark outside. “About 15 minutes away,” my step mom said gleefully, “I can’t wait to see it, I hope the colors are as vibrant as I’ve read, I wonder how many people are there, I hope there is a trail” I boasted out without taking a breath until after I was done. I talked to Isaiah, took selfies of him, and watched baby shows on my phone together, until we took a right turn and pulled onto the road where we would soon see the canyon.

After a few miles of the rocky road a huge sign greeted us that said, Grand Canyon National Park. We pulled into a parking spot, I grabbed Isaiah’s stroller from the trunk and my step mom took him out and put him in his seat. I offered to push him. My dad got Dyna out of the car and put a leash on her so she could walk with us to the canyon, once we made it up to the trail we passed by people and everyone wanted to lay their hand on her back. I felt like we had a famous dog that was recognized around the world. I was completely fine with it because when I see a cute dog, I want to pet them too, but my dad wasn’t very happy with all the people that kept stopping us. But after a while practically everyone on the trail had met and pet Dyna so we continued till we were met with a full vision of beautiful rocks going up, down, and sideways in any direction. It was unimaginable, this was what everyone was interested in, this is why people enjoyed coming to see a canyon.

Only after a few seconds I felt a sense of peace, it was as if I was the only one there looking at the canyon, my family wasn’t there, other people weren’t there, just me. It was as amazing as feeling like you're on top of the world, and nothing could bring you down. Such an interesting feeling that can never be explained. We started to take pictures of each other passing a phone around so everyone could get a chance to have their picture taken by the canyon, even Dyna had her picture taken too. Night fell so quick, like all the people that were once there earlier turned into ghosts, gone, no one. I looked around to realize only about 6 people were still there and it was dark, but there were trails that needed to be explored so we started walking. We had to have been walking for 10 minutes when it turned pitch black, I snatched my phone from a pocket in Isaiah’s stroller, 9:08pm In bold text. “I think this is the right way” I stammered out loud, after a few more wrong turns we made it out and put everything back in the car, strapped Isaiah in his car seat and left.

It was an indescribable experience, seeing the canyon, getting lost for a little amount of time it felt so unreal. The car screeched into the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant for a late-night dinner. We got out of the car once again to sit down and eat, I ordered tacos, and Isaiah got a tortilla with cheese inside. After the meal, my dad went onto his phone to search for a cheap hotel for one night. We pulled out of the restaurant parking lot and drive to a hotel my dad found. My dad dove out of the car and walked in to talk to the manager, “they don’t have any more rooms,” he said coming back out of breath.

We speed out and back onto the main street where we’re immediately met with a red light. I continue my conversation about colors with Isaiah, in hopes the light would soon turn green. In the distance I heard the eerie sounds of a police siren as the siren got louder, I noticed there were red and blue lights too. Before I was able to comprehend what, is going on the light turned green, cars in front of us started going but stopped, why aren’t they going? I thought. A black car came speeding down the street and in the lane beside ours nearly sideswiping us, the police cars follow behind with their sirens and lights blaring. I was astonished, my mind could barely process what just happened in those 2 seconds, but it seemed like everyone was already over it. But it kept replaying over and over again in slow motion in my mind. I spent the whole car ride to the next hotel thinking about the 2 seconds that made the night interesting. I stated what I thought could have been the reasons why the police were chasing the person, and any and anything that came to mind. After arriving at the hotel, we took one thing into the room, I took some of the bags, my step mom took Isaiah, my dad took Dyna, and we kept going in that system until everything was in the room. I face planted onto the bed that would now be shared by all of us, 2 adults, one teen, and one toddler, Dyna got the whole floor all to herself.

The night went by quick one moment I'm thinking about the car chase, and the next thing I knew everyone was up and getting ready to leave. Since no one brought a change of clothes but Isaiah it was easy to get out quickly, back in the car for the last time on the way back to Las Vegas. The trip back was a blur, as if I spaced out the whole time. We suddenly were back in the driveway right where the trip began, the heat was still as hot as we left, everyone now sweating again. I brought as much as my hands can carry inside. I ran to my room and laid on my bed. I hope that the air conditioning will turn on quickly, I thought. I heard my step mom walk in and turn right into Isaiah’s room and set him down for his nap. For the rest of the day, I slept too.

I was born in Woodland Hills, California and I am 16 years old. Writing has been a passion of mine since I can remember, I would read books in my closet because it had a nice sitting area, and I would write little notes in it to remember my favorite parts. I write as much as I can in my free time, since I'm balancing school and getting a job. I truly enjoy the art of writing, how you can let your mind flow into words on paper. Other hobbies of mine include, art, dancing, singing and spending time with my family.

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