Almost Fearless

The Grand Canyon + Death

What do you talk about with a three and six-year-old as your traverse the southern rim of the Grand Canyon? Falling to your death. Apparently, quite a bit. You see, the Grand Canyon, if you haven’t been, is basically a massive gaping hole that could swallow you up with one misstep. Sure there are rails, but only at the lookout points. It’s not that I expected rails everywhere, or had any expectations at all even, it’s just when you’re walking the southern rim with two kids you suddenly realize: hey this is sort of insane. It’s so picturesque, the depths are so far away, faded in the distance, the reality of where you’d fall to isn’t even in sight. It’s a curious sensation. It’s hard to feel it’s even real, and I saw that reflected in my children who climbed the rocks along the edge without even a flicker of fear.


Here’s how to raise adventurous children: just take them to national park that has on one hand paved and smoothed out the experience with visitor centers and well-marked trails so you almost feel like it’s Disneyland of Natural Wonders, then place that next to a cliff.

You guys: it’s a cliff.

We took our kids to a really long cliff that we walked along for a day and somehow that seemed like a great idea until we got there.

Anyway, it’s fine, I looked it up, only 2-3 people fall over the edge each year out of the 4.8 million visitors which means we’re all more likely to choke to death on our dinner than fall into the Grand Canyon. But then the second reality hits you which is that you have to explain to your children, who seemingly don’t have an ounce of fear in them – that no, they can’t climb out THERE.

“Why not?”

“Because you could fall and die.”

And then queue a discussion about death, their death, my death, their father’s death and how that would feel.

Cole cried as he told me how he would feel if I died.

Stella told us that if SHE died, we’d all be very sad, so sad we’d be like this: [she sings the theme song to Jurassic Park, which is a sort of swelling piece of wonder, not quite sadness, but okay, it’s emotional].

Also she hasn’t seen Jurassic Park so I have no idea where she got that.

grandcanyon-2So the Grand Canyon was cool, but my kids are way too young for it. I would love to do something with them when they are much older… but really unless you’re up for some serious hiking, the best part is the free camping just outside the Southern Rim. There are old dirt roads and fire pits set up, you just claim one and you’re good to go. We saw bunnies. We made a huge fire. It was so fun.


PS: During this summer’s travels I’ll be posting a lot more on social media than on the blog but you can catch up with me here:

Instagram (@almostfearless)
Facebook (@almostfearless)
Twitter (@cb_gilbert)
Snapchat (@cb_gilbert)

Plus Drew and I are running several workshops over the summer:

June 17th: Non-Fiction Book Proposals (the first step in writing a memoir, cookbook or how-to/advice book)
July 11th: Adventure as a Life Plan – this is a free workshop open to all!
July 15th: Beyond Auto Photography (how to use your camera’s manual settings and more)


Selling Art Online with Print on Demand (taught by Drew) – it’s a good time to get started in this 8 week course just in time for the Christmas rush.
Learn to Draw & Keep a Sketchbook (taught by Drew) – this is my husband’s epic, “teach anyone to draw” course
Starting Your Book – this is my popular 30 workshop to get your book mapped out.

We’re busy this summer, huh? Well the good news is we did a lot of this work ahead of time so we could focus on travel (and for me, some writing I want to catch up with, which is kind of a luxury to get to just WRITE).

By the way, if you haven’t pick up a copy of Mother Tongue it’s not too late – it’s our family’s epic tale of traveling around the world to learn Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish with a dash of hijinks along the way. We were featured in National Geographic Traveler and Elle Magazine. I think the Wall Street Journal’s review is coming out soon. If you have read it, please leave a review on Amazon!

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”


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