Even when led by the still small voice of our perfect God, real life messes are unavoidable; we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world.
Our team was set, there would be four of us going on our Spring Retreat. We were thrilled for the adventure that lied ahead. It was like the unmovable, merciless, accessible crater was calling our name. Like an invitation to come enter at our own risk to explore, scope, gaze, and wonder. It felt almost like a dare.
I knew this trip was going to be one of the most extreme things I’d ever done. But first, we needed to get registered. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high until we had the space reserved for our stay in the Canyon.
By reading the posts on Facebook, I quickly found out that registration for 2018 opened on February 1st at 8:00am. The posts were adamant about not waiting because 2017 sold for the entire year in only two weeks. Our group had decided on a week in April for our trip. We were waiting until we were registered for the hike before purchasing our airline tickets and finding a place to stay in Sedona prior to the hike. Waiting to plan for trip depending on the registration for the hike was one of the only well thought out decisions we’d make. How can you know what you don’t know, right?
On January 31st, the evening before registration day, I went to the website for a practice run. I had to be sure the website address was accurate since I would be logging on first thing in the morning with no time to spare for trying to figure things out. I woke up at 7:30am and turned on my computer and went directly to the Facebook feed to participate in the excitement with the others who were also waiting for registration to open. I sat on the couch with my laptop, my cell phone, and my credit card. At 7:59am, I had my finger on the enter key as the last minute counted down per second because I was concerned that the week were had planned for may get taken.
My phone read 8:00am – I pushed enter – I’m logged on. On the cover page of the registration it read to ‘click here’ for a live calendar. I ‘clicked here’ and I got an error response. WHAT? Panicked, I fought with the tab for 10 minutes. Then it dawned on me to check the Facebook page to see if anyone else was dealing with the same problem. Everyone was experiencing the same problem. People were furious, they were using curse words and having fits. I was instantly on an intense mission to book this reservation. I read some of the replies and found someone who gave a different link for the live calendar! I copy the link and pasted it in the URL and it worked! I got the live calendar!
As I was scrolling through the calendar, I could not find any squares that were colored showing availability, everything appeared sold out! How could this be? It was only 8:15am! I looked through April, Sold Out. I looked through May, Sold Out, I looked through June, Sold Out. I thought July and August would be too hot, so I back tracked to March. There were a two-day hikes available in March, so I selected one of the dates. A registration sheep populated on the screen where I saw a timer at the top counting down from 99 seconds, 98, 97, 96…Oh my word, I was going to be timed out in one minute and I didn’t even know if these dates were going to work for our team. I frantically texted the group and before I got a response, I was timed out. Ughhh, back to the drawing board.
I was still on the March calendar and I started clicking the pair of dates that were showing available. As I made my selection, I got the response, “no longer available”, this was seriously crazy! Finally, after several near misses, the registration screen populated again, and the one-minute count down began. It was like a race to the finish as I quickly filled out the information and added my credit card. Then, without even checking with the team, I clicked submit and I got an ERROR response! Are you kidding me? So, I clicked submit again, and again , and again, and again, thinking I might be getting charged for each entry, and all of a sudden, the screen read, CONGRATUATIONS! YOUR DATES ARE CONFIRMED! Just like that, I all caps with exclaimation points. The font was an indication to me that who ever constructed this site was aware of the mayhem that was going to be had. Instantly I thought, what have I done? I wonder if everyone can go?
I ran upstairs to check my own calendar and noticed that the dates I had booked were on Easter weekend! We would be hiking down on Thursday before Easter and hiking out on Good Friday. Oh my, could my team even go on Easter weekend?
To be continued…