Quothe the Raven, “Nevermore”.

It was late May and I was backpacking out to the Little Colorado with my son, Caleb for the weekend. My son, age 11, with around 3,000 miles below the rim in just 3 years, wanted to bring a 16 ounce pizza Hot Pocket with him on the trip. He knows what is appropriate for his pack in terms of weight but I said, “sure, but you are going to haul it!”. He accepted the challenge and the full pound of pizza Hot Pocket found its way into his pack. I figured it would teach him a good lesson and hey, who I am to rain on someone’s pizza Hot Pocket parade, right?!

The trip commences on schedule, a four-day trek out to the LCR:

Nights 1 and 2: Palisades

Night 3: Tanner

Day 4: Hike out Tanner

So, Night 3 was the day of the incident. We departed the Palisades in the morning and arrived at Tanner. Caleb had been hauling this pound of magic for 3 days on some fairly brutal at times terrain. Upon arrival at Tanner, my assistance was requested from another hiker regarding a foot injury. My son interrupted my assessment of the injured foot to inquire if he could get his Hot Pocket going in the sun so it would be warmed up by supper. I said ok and took a break to go and assist. I laid the pound of magic on a rock in the sun to cook. In the summertime at the bottom of the Canyon, you can cook just about anything.

I gave my offspring strict instructions to sit and guard the Hot Pocket like a pot of gold because critters would get it if he didn’t (he knows this). So, I leave him there with his dinner cooking in the hot Grand Canyon sun and go back to my patient. After some time, Caleb appears at my side curious about what’s happening with this poor man’s foot and so I proceed to show him what I am doing and such. Eventually, we leave the man to go back to our camp and grab water and a snack for me. As we approach our camp I notice a wrapper on the ground…a tattered wrapper. As I am standing over it, I realize it is in fact, a Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pocket wrapper with “1 Pounder” ribboned across it in bright red on the label! Speaking of RED, I’m seeing it because my son knows very well how to secure his trash appropriately below the rim.

Immediately, I realize the wrapper has been shredded…by birds of some sort. I look at my son and say, “where EXACTLY is your Hot Pocket?”. I will tell you that the look on his face required no response but with tears on the brink of his tired eyelids, stammering and choking on tears, he said “Mama, I didn’t see the Ravens anywhere so I thought it would be ok….”. I immediately switched from anger mode to “OMG the precious Hot Pocket he hauled (with great pride) back and forth to the Little Colorado over the past several days (a strenuous trek to be sure)” was gone.

I remember being very proud of my son for the self-control he demonstrated that entire trip as he fought the strong urge to inhale that pocket over the course of three very hot and arduous days. Of course, his other backpacking GO TO, Shrimp Ramen Noodles was supposed to be my dinner because he had his Hot Pocket but I promised him a noodle feast that night! And a noodle feast we shared on the bank of the Colorado River with a lovely orange, pink sky sashed with white cloud remnants. The night ended with a deep slumber and the loving memory of one 16-ounce Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pocket.

Since that trip, Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pockets have new meaning at my house. Every time we pass one at the grocery store, my son will inevitably say to me softly, “mama, do you remember….” And that’s all that needs to be said, I say “Yes son, I remember” and he’s never asked me to buy one since. Folks: what you should take away from this hilariously awesome story is that when in Grand Canyon, never leave FOOD unattended…NEVERMORE!

Jen Hogan has logged over 6,000 miles below the rim of Grand Canyon National Park and 10s of thousands world-wide, guides for us – Just Roughin’ Itand is just a bit too rugged and outdoorsy for their taste according to one of our past tour guests – which makes her an even better guide in our opinion. She is a great Grand Canyon resource and a super cool person too!