If 6 Was 9 – A Grand Canyon Mystery

Mountains Fall to the Sea

Grand Canyon is home to the Hopi, Navajo, Hualapai, and Havasupai. They all have Canyon creation myths. Three claim to have witnessed its birth. Only the Hopi admit they didn’t. But the Anasazi were here centuries before any of them. They were the original masters of the Canyon multi-verse. The Anasazi vanished mysteriously and no one knows why. All that remains are abandoned architectural wonders and lots of questions. Most scholars today blame climate change bringing drier cooler Summers and wetter warmer Winters beginning in 1190, lasting 300 hundred years. The people simply migrated-away seeking better conditions. But they left their spiritual imprint behind and there are times when you can hear them.

It was bitter cold the morning we began our descent to Phantom Ranch. The Canyon was nearly deserted. But we met a couple interesting spirits. At least I think we did.

woman rider
Riding back from Phantom Ranch in the morning with a knowing smile
Day Two on the Bright Angel: Loren found us on the Kaibab Trail, Day One and offered to help … we refused gamely but we needed help and he knew it … he circled-back for the next two days checking on us … a great spirit from Luxembourg


Grand Canyon mysteries are preserved in creation stories, lyric, and music. Jimi Hendrix was part Cherokee and became inspired by the ancient tales. His song, If 6 Was 9 came from a Hopi creation myth. The lyric, “if the mountains fall to the sea,” is the translation of the Indian word “Kaibab.” It’s also the name of the treacherous trail of descent to Phantom Ranch where we spent the night.

Like the Anasazi, Hendrix left a mysterious body of work that people are still trying to figure out.

Grand Canyon – Winter 2014

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