This is the story of how I got a phone call to go on a hike. A hike to the Grand Canyon and go all the way down to Phantom Ranch and back. Why would I do this? Because I would be documenting a family coming together on this hike to bless their Dad and Grandpa who is paralyzed, by taking him with them. (Video story at the end)
From Lucille Headings (The Mom):
Bob Headings of Plain City, Ohio, was always very active, whether it was with his work, camping, gardening or spending time with his kids and grandkids. But in 2005, an injury left him a paraplegic. Being an optimist, he didn't let that stop him. His positive outlook impressed his family so that they wanted to help him transverse the Grand Canyon trails he had hiked only one year before his life changing injury.
His three sons, Randy, Rick, and Roger, and their three sons (eight of Bob's grandsons), began to train. They secured a Trail Rider, which is basically a one-wheeled chair with handles front and back so two people, with the person in front pulling, and the person in back, balancing, could transport him on the trail.
The Hike Down
4780 Ft Elevation Change
We hiked the South Kaibab Trail on the way down. You would think going down hill is easy, and for the most part, it is. But then you have to keep going downhill for over 7 miles. Along those 7 miles are these things called "Weathering Logs". They are anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet tall, that the trail rider had to be LIFTED OVER! All 240 lbs of it. How many weathering logs were there on the trail you ask?
We finally arrived and almost everybody collapsed.
The Hike Up
4380 Ft Elevation Change
The Hike up was one baited with anxiety and fear. We didn't know what to expect. We only knew that the way down was extremely hard and it took everything we had. The hike up was no different. We chose the Bright Angel Trail, which is 10 miles long.
Everybody was pitching in. More grandkids were hooked up to a harness. The Sun came out, the heat rose, and breaks were becoming more and more frequent.
The view was incredible. It was inspiring to look back and see how much ground you covered, but it seemed impossible to have to keep going up. It was like it never ended.
We finally arrived at the top. We could tell because there was a crowd of cheering fans urging us to keep it going. Their shouts helped the Headings family do the last push to the top of the rim. It was an unforgettable experience for all. This act of love and family impacted every hiker that passed us, every park official that encountered us, and everyone that hears the tale.
I'm so glad I got to be apart of it. The end was a blur for me because of my pulled muscles, dehydration, and utter exhaustion. Weeks later, when I was editing the footage, I asked the family what I should call this story. They replied with "I Can't Believe We Just Did That". I chuckled and asked why that particular title. They said, you couldn't stop saying it at the end. That's all we heard you say for hours. I laughed because I only sort of remember it, and also because still to this day....I can't believe we just did that.
All rights reserved John Honaker 2015
All music, footage, and contents of video are the property of John Honaker and the Headings Family.
Please contact the Headings family or John Honaker if you wish to use this story.